Tuesday, April 1, 2014

The Box

by Rusty Clark, Flick'rCreativeCommons
The Box

When he gave away the sky
he had no idea
how much he'd miss it,

how the soft dark box
 would go hard, how the small
would hurt his head,
how painting the top blue 
would be pretty
but not enough.

 So he began to
poke a hole 
or two--his stars--

then drew 
down the sun
ray by ray
with a flame finger.
There was smoke
and there was fire

when the box burnt to ash
under the deep-water
cornflower sky.

~April  2014

And so, April begins. I start with a small surplus of poems in the bank, of which this is one, but sooner or later, I'll have to start writing on my feet. Or with my feet, or something. 
Happy National Poetry Month to all.


  1. Thus it begins ... nice start on the run, which to me felt like the writer who throws the world away and then slowly takes it back, poem by poem, creating a world that collapses of its own weight. Until there's only world. The strokes of painterly thought remind me of Wally Stevens with no small amount of Hedgewitchean juju, always letting Mother Nature win.

    1. Umm, do we actually 'let' her win? Just sayin. ;_) Thanks B--you are all about the writing process, but I think it makes an excellent metaphor for everything I was thinking about when I wrote this--though with a more positive ending. As always, any comparison to Stevens is way above my pay grade, but I appreciate the kind words.

  2. Laffin @ you writing with your feet. At least you'll be sure to get the meter right! har de har.

    I love this poem. Joni Mitchell, or John Lennon, or somebody, said you don't know what you got until ya lose it, and in this poem, that is shown to be true, in spades. Once the magical thing is gone, or trapped out of its natural element, there is no amount of window dressing or half-measures that will make it, again, what it was before. To even try is a losing proposition. Just ask the pile of ashes at the end of your fine poem.

  3. smiles...dont think i could stand to live in a box...and even if the flames took me in pulling them down, it would be worth it to me....dont need no fake world you know....smiles...

  4. If this is your surplus, I'd like to take a look in your little box of tricks.

    This is something I wish I had written, or even imagined. What a metaphor for self-imposed isolation and self-immolation. Everything I love in abstract art - an invitation to move the boundaries of thought.

  5. This is such a whimsical way to start -- the image of that drab old box, to begin with, no grand present with glistening April bow -- oh, what could be hiding there? But the laugh quickly turns serious as I see this as a clear ecological message about our collective stupidity on this, our only earth.

    I used to exhibit artwork in outdoor art shows. If you've ever been to one you know the exhibitors set up canopied booths. Basically they're boxes with one side open where of course the public enters, views the work, and leaves. One year at the end of my interest in that activity I envisioned a plain plywood box with a couple of peepholes. I would sit inside the box for the duration of the show. I told myself it was conceptual art, but realizing my main motivation was contempt, I didn't follow through.

    1. RE: the box knife: Of course--you could put someone's eye out.I once sold wildflower seeds as a side-job at the State Fair, so I completely relate to the idea of running the stall from inside a box. Humanity can be rather appalling en masse (or out of it.)

  6. Thanks all. I'm really fascinated by the variety of interpretations you five of my most consistent readers have brought to this. It never fails to amaze me where our work takes things for people. This poem is one of a series I've written about someone, very specific to his experience, yet each of these replies touch on a different possibility, and each, in its way adds to its meaning. Thanks so much, everyone.

  7. Genesis.

    "God does DIY." I think that's a Nietzsche quote but my German is PA!

    Image, mood, a sketch, an allusion to creation, devastation . . .

    I let it wash in my eyes and wonder, as ever,
    where did the creator stand when he created all creation . . .

    In a BOX!!! this I now realise is the answer to everything.

    on-screen, in-screen . . . my father actually says, "what's on 'the box?"
    if he wants to know what's on the TV.

    on-screen, in-screen I-scream . . .
    because the folding of time/space is geometric
    but ever-so poetic here!

    1. Yet another way to see it--and we're all in that box,wondering... where is the box-knife to cut our way out before the big burn. Thanks, Arron.

    2. Box cutters aren't allowed in the box. Too dangerous.

    3. Felt the overwhelming confines of that box. So happy when it burnt down.

  8. Very cool poem. The in and out of the box and drawing the rays down--(I'm thinking of Harold and the Purple Crayon.) And wonderful contrasts with the wet flowery true sky. Lovely. Thanks. k.

  9. However one may interpret this poem, and I could read it many ways, Joy Ann, this I know, it is damn good writing. Good to see you are on this insane journey with me. I have no desire to write, but Michael wouldn't have wanted that. He was a huge supporter of my writing. I have plenty to cull from my journal, which I started back in January. Happy writing, my friend.


    1. Happy writing, pamela. It is what it is and sometimes, it's all there is, I'm glad to see you out here with us crazy people.

  10. Mmm, delightful. What a strong start to poetry month! I'm practically salivating for more.

  11. brilliant conceit ~

  12. Ah, never give away the sky. Great write Joy.


"We make out of the quarrel with others, rhetoric, out of the quarrel with ourselves, poetry." ~William Butler Yeats

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