Yellowed, but Prevailing
Rain, I suppose, is the most crucial element throughout "My Grandmother's Love Letter." In fact, in the first stanza, the stars have all gone nowhere. Rather, the only thing that is left to us is the "soft rain" in the loose girdle. Thereupon, the poem is diffused with the rain, which, of course, is the symbol of Grandma's yellowed yet vivid memory which keeps haunting the grandma, the poet, the readers and the rest of the poem-in the subtly created atmosphere of "soft rain."
In the second stanza, the memory ("letters") of the grandma, Elizabeth, seems to be compacted into a small corner of the house-ignored and neglected. However "brown and soft," nonetheless, the letters (representing the memory) would still prevail in the grandma's heart like the snow, or the melted snow, or, the rain. In other words, the power of the memory still permeates every bit of the grandma's life no matter how aged or out of date it is.
The third stanza focuses on the "lightness" of memory. Seemingly, memory is very much subject to alterations as is described as "hung by an invisibly white hair" or "birch limbs webbing the air," both of which are easily influenced even by a weightless breeze. It, furthermore, fails to bear the heaviness or even the disturbance of the footsteps. The poet may suggest by saying so that the grandma is never immune to the memory of the old good days. As if a feather drifting in the boundless sky or a quiet lake, grandma is prone to feel the most trivial thing under the great influence of a wind or a passing by dragonfly that causes the ripples on the surface of the lake with its lightly shaking wings.
As mentioned above, however, like the "soft" raindrops or the melted snow, memory possesses a certain degree of weight that always weighs on and transcends the mind of the grandma. In brief, it weighs and spares no freedom of memory as for the grandma. Whether memory is as light as the "birch limbs" or as transcendent as the "rain," it has occupied the everything of the grandma's life.
In the self-questioning fifth stanza, the persona seems to claim, "let the bygones be the bygones." Nonetheless, the bygones will always flash back-only in the disguise of memory. Silence, then, is strong enough to carry the sound, the music, and memory strong enough to carry all the past happenings! Seemingly weak, memory has in itself an infinite power to fight with the nonsensical (as for the grandma) present.
The final stanza, as the closure, brings us back tot he rain. I can actually picture a young man leading his grandma by the hand thorough, say, a bunch of skyscrapers or stuff ("much of what she would not understand:"). But, remember, all is silence-even the persona has stumbled. Only the raindrops are allowed to make a sound, to make "a sound of gently pitying laughter"-over the bygones of the grandmaíK Memory prevails thusíK