Friday, March 24, 2017

Poetry Friday: A Box Full of Darkness, Response

Last week I shared a prompt from my writing group.  Three of us wrote poems in response to it, and lively discussion ensued.  Here's mine.  I found it a lot of fun to write.  I kept paring it and paring it; my final version was probably a third the length of my first draft.  I enjoyed the process so much - even though the subject of the poem is so sad - that I found myself wondering again why I don't routinely write every day.  The only reason I made myself sit down and write this was that I had my group meeting coming up.  I think the answer to my question is that I usually prioritize my "real work," which involves reading student writing, and on the rare occasions when that is finished, my brain is tired and picking up my own writing seems too much.  Yet writing is the one thing that reliably makes me feel better when I'm tired and down.


Box Full of Darkness

Someone I love gave me
A box

A box full of velvety black-hole darkness,
Sound-swallowing silence,
Absence, not-there-ness, all-gone-ness,
A box filled to the brim with emptiness,
A box of goodbye.

I’d throw the box away,
But it will take me years to unpack,
And besides, it’s from someone I love.

Ruth, thereisnosuchthingasagodforsakentown.blogspot.com


Here's today's roundup.

17 comments:

Donna Smith said...

This is so beautiful in its sadness. Got me to thinking of the boxes of Whitman's my father used to give to his dad on special occasions. They all ended up empty, but they were full of love.

Irene Latham said...

Oh, Ruth, this poem is a box full of GORGEOUS! I love the line about a box of goodbye, and the just-right-ness that the box should come from someone the speaker of the poem loves?? Well, that's the "unexpected inevitable" I'm often searching for when I read a poem. Thank you! And I'm glad to know writing poems comforts you. ME TOO. (Sometimes when I'm grumpy, my husband will say, "just go write," and I always feel better when I do.) xo

Brenda Harsham said...

I love the language play in stanza two. I agree that writing when you're tired renews and surprises. I wrote mine late last night after I felt overdone, tough as leather and sewn shut. Yet I was surprised by what came, honest and brief. I recommend writing every day. I write most days, and I love it. My soul is happier.

Linda B said...

I like how you responded, taking the 'other' and making it fit you, Ruth. There are those things that we can only bite a little at a time, just as you wrote. I wish you did write more. I always enjoy your words.

jama said...

Such a touching poem, Ruth. A box of goodbyes . . . sigh.

Tabatha said...

I know what you mean about writing making you feel better (although, I admit, at the moment I'm feeling like I just had an argument with a bunch of words, and I think they won. The battle, at least.)
Your poem is velvety-beautiful, Ruth. Not empty at all.

Jane @ Raincity Librarian said...

So bittersweet and lovely.

Mary Lee said...

I've got a box like that right now...

And here's to a daily/regular writing habit -- it does do one good, doesn't it?!?

Joy said...

This poem is such a delicious one on my tongue. I love all those double ss sounds. I enjoyed reading this aloud. Thank you.

Tara Smith said...

Yes, Jane has it right - bittersweet and lovely.

Mitchell Linda said...

Wow. I have chills.That is a truly beautiful poem. I hope you can publish that beyond your blog. It's very emotive.....brings up a lot of thoughts in me. Wow. Just wow. Taking too much time to unpack. Well, that's the truth of it, right there. Isn't it?

Robyn Hood Black said...

Fantastic poem, Ruth - truly inspired. Thanks for sharing - it obviously resonates with lots of folks.

Kay said...

So much beauty and sadness packed into this poem. You did good work with all that paring. Every word that is left packs a punch.

michelle kogan said...

Beautiful poem Ruth, and the second to last line is wonderful, "But it will take me years to unpack," Your melancholy parts draw me in "not-there-ness, all-gone-ness," thanks for sharing it

Catherine said...

This "box of goodbye" makes my heart ache, Ruth. Thank you for sharing these beautiful lines.

Doraine Bennett said...

A beautiful, haunting poem, Ruth. I love the all-gone-ness line. I am the same way about writing, so many other things that demand to be done, I tend to put the writing off until they are complete and then find myself too tired mentally. I've set myself a very private goal for April of writing daily on a project that has been on the back burner for a while. Private in the sense that there will be no sharing on my blog, just me working. I'm even approaching it from the standpoint of Lent, giving up my excuses for not writing, giving up my right to be overwhelmed and back away, my right to be too tired to write. We'll see how it goes. I'm wishing you moments of time you give to yourself for writing.

Matt Forrest Esenwine said...

As others have said, there is beauty in the sadness of this poem - and the last line is perfectly redemptive.