A Box Poem

When I saw the Poetry Sisters’ challenge for the month, I knew immediately what I wanted to write about. It was something I’d already known that I would write about in some way, at some time. Knowing it and doing it are such different things though, aren’t they? I’ve found it difficult to find my way in, and am still uncertain about what I’ve written.

The challenge was to write a poem with a box theme. There was an additional suggestion to consider using a box form of some sort. After exploring a few options, I wound up choosing a quatern, not exactly a box form, but I liked the repetition and movement of the refrain.

One Not-So-Simple Box

One simple box on our doorstep
delivered unexpectedly,
filled with a spicy balsam scent
and a Christmas wreath, evergreen

My stepmother’s annual gift
one simple box on our doorstep
arriving just as usual
but stunningly unusual

This past November, sad and shocked,
we celebrated her life. Now
one simple box on our doorstep
held both explosion and embrace

She’d pre-ordered in late July
a holiday present now so
reverberant with love and loss
one simple box on our doorstep

©Molly Hogan, draft

After struggling with the above, I think I prefer the simplicity of this effort.

Late Gift

The wreath arrived in an innocuous box
wrapped in its fresh balsam scent
her traditional holiday gift
pre-ordered to arrive in December
delivered almost exactly one month
after we celebrated her life.

©Molly Hogan, draft

I’ve just started reading Austin Kleon’s “Show Your Work” (Thanks, Marcie Flinchum Atkins) and am trying to share the process and the writing even when it feels messy and unfinished.

This week’s Poetry Friday Roundup is hosted by Patricia J. Franz.

15 thoughts on “A Box Poem

  1. margaretsmn says:

    Molly, I am reading this in a hotel lobby while visiting my mother and brother’s family. It hit me hard this morning because when I am here, I feel more grief knowing Dad is gone and Mom will be someday sooner rather than later. To think of your stepmother placing this order not knowing it would arrive after her life ended is exploding and embracing me. I prefer the first poem for this line.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love both versions, Molly, but I think the first one is so powerful. The truth sneaks up unexpectedly and thus explodes. I can imagine your heart-gasp when the reality of this gift set in. Blessings to you this holiday!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. “one simple box on our doorstep
    held both explosion and embrace” — Oh, Molly. What beauty and pain and gratitude in your poems. I like the first one better (even though I’m almost always for the simpler/sparer poem). Thanks for sharing your mom-in-law’s wreath gift and your poetry gift with us. Wishing you a lovely New Year’s!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Susan T. says:

    Beautiful, Molly. I like both versions and especially the first because it preserves the lovely surprise. I am sorry for your loss.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. tee+d says:

    The words “innocuous box” say far more than expected. I love the both of these, and the honor you pay your stepmother by your efforts at putting love and loss into words. These are beautifully done.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. heidimordhorst says:

    This poignant event required you to write about it, of course, will require you to address it again and again, I’m sure–but in both of these versions you pour your love and grateful shock at the way our beloveds live on. Thanks for baring your process, Molly.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Oh! Your poem made me tear up! What a gift.

    And I’m so glad you’re reading SHOW YOUR WORK. It’s funny, I’ve read it at different times in my life and it’s meant different things to me at different times. I hope it is just what you need in your writing life right now.

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      I’m loving “Show Your Work”, and am so thankful for your mentioning it. I can see how it could resonate in different ways at different times. I got a copy from the library, but I’m thinking I probably need to purchase my own.


  8. lindabaie says:

    It seems as if she’s still caring for you, Molly, sending her usual yet now it’s become so much more. I love that you captured the moment in a poem, and shared this treasured moment. Happy New Year!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I like both of your poems too, though the first really pulls at your heart strings. Yes, what a “stunningly unusual” gift your stepmother has left for you, and layered-filled too, thanks for sharing it with us Molly.


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