That Tally Stick

Decent Essays
So many people have keepsakes to symbolize their love for one another. Couples have pictures and mementos to remind them of their special times. In “The Tally Stick”, Jarold Ramsey introduces us to a couple who use a tally stick rather than pictures to represent what is important in their lives. Ramsey takes us from the beginning of the relationship, when the stick is bare, to the end when it is carved end to end. We learn of the outside events that build their love, as well as internal measure, upon which their love is built. According to Ramsey the stick is a part of the couple’s relationship. The tally stick shows that love can be a long-lasting bond defined by failure and success that strengthen their relationship. Before there is…show more content…
“Our tally stick is whittled nearly end to end; delicate as scrimshaw, it would not bear you up” (20). Ramsey mentions that the stick is polished with regrets. Because they both have regrets that helped build their love, the couple clusters those regrets with all other mishaps “hand over hand” (22). The author ends the poem with the couple looking back on everything they have done. Running their fingers from beginning to end they will explore everything that shaped their relationship and forgive each other’s regrets. Ramsey refers to their blameless eyes, telling us that the two no longer blame one another and can go on loving through old age. Starting from when they were children, they follow the grain all the way to adulthood and “talk softly as of ordinary matters and in one another’s blameless eyes go blind” (27). “The Tally Stick” is symbolic of everything this couple shares with each other. It not only shows special occasions like a picture but tells a detailed story of their life together. The couple relives the significant times they spent together by running their thumbs through the intricate notches. Detailed depictions of their wedding, the births of their children, the tragedies they have gone through can all be found within the stick. This stick defines the relationship, and is part of the each of them. The marks indicating internal events are the ones that remain special and are intricately drawn, where as the historic actions are just
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