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Friday, 5 July 2013

The Empty Box


Opening the matchbox
is a safety curtain raised
an opera revealed
a space completely filled
by a vertical black wheel,
a stationary hub
round which the stage
proscenium arch and orchestra
are turned like turtles, like a page
of music that the maestro missed.

Watch when the box is upside down
how every match has tumbled out
and struck its flame upon the ground...

From sight comes sound
from fire comes song,
the matches dance off two-by-two
in high duet or pas de deux.

Shadows fall of spoke and rim,
fire turns the wheel that would not move,
the world must follow in its groove
and all obsessed by flame or song
be crushed beneath the awesome heft.

What will be left?
The matchbox holding empty space
remakes itself and finds the grace
for buffalo and killer whale,
an octopus, a small boy's zoo
of mini-beasts from underground --
revolting seen in morning light --
that turn most adults chalky white.

It's from this box your nightmares come.
Abhoring vacuums, nature boasts
that little boys oft help it out,
that vacuums are a nightmare's home,
an empty box a place for ghosts.

The matchbox closed, the small boy smiles:
he's trapped a world with childish wiles.
What when your muse moves to dispense
inspiring thoughts that make no sense?

Beneath the blankets through the night
the small boy makes his curtain calls,
the matchbox opening a chink.
Man thinks of God with thoughts that shrink.


Anna at dVerse Poets Meeting the Bar: Critique and Craft is asking us to consider Atmosphere in our writing.

16 comments:

Björn said...

Just starting with the box to start with and then the nightmares got me thinking about Pandora's box... But in reality it's just empty. Maybe the worst things are played in our minds.

Mary said...

Very clever, Dave. So much ATMOSPHERE can be created by what one imagines.

Brian Miller said...

what a very imaginative tale dave full of magic and the ponderings of a little boy with his box of potential...strike one and you got the power but there is also danger...even empty the box has all the potential...

Rachna Chhabria said...

Can just visualize the small boy with a matchbox.

Ygraine said...

'that vacuums are a nightmare's home, an empty box a place for ghosts'...perhaps I'm being too deep, but these two lines put me in mind of the Void before creation.
Are we all no more than the Creator's nightmares?
And does the small boy's imagination echo the Almighty's?

This one is absolutely fascinating...it has my mind turning somersaults.
A truly amazing write!:)

The Weaver of Grass said...

I can't help feeling Dave that when you were a little boy you kept horrible things like beetles in matchboxes to scare the girls!

Grace said...

Love the use of the matchbox as a place for imaginative sounds & imagery as well as from where nightmares come~ Enjoyed this one Dave ~

Claudia said...

hey...i want such a box...really....it's both, magical and useful...what a cool take

christopher said...

A full imagination harbored in the empty box is wonderful and powerful.

Great perspective.

Tommaso Gervasutti said...

Great rhythm and great vision. It reminds me strongly of William Blake.

Rose said...

You have definitely packed a lot into an empty matchbox Dave, fabulous imagery! I love how you closed with the line 'Man thinks of God with thoughts that shrink' it adds a whole new meaning to your poem :)

Ygraine said...

Hope you are feeling a bit better today, Dave.
Do take care...and try to keep smiling:)

Mark Walters said...

The matchbox will undoubtedly spark another brilliant flame for you, as this one. Thanks

FrankandMary said...

Laced with minor-dark undertones.
Love that. ~Mary

Carl said...

'The matchbox closed, the small boy smiles:
he's trapped a world with childish wiles.
What when your muse moves to dispense
inspiring thoughts that make no sense?'

Just bloody brilliant my friend. I loved every minute of it.

Dave King said...

Apologies once more for not replying to you all individually. Slightly under the weather again, I fear, but hoping for better things. Sincere and heartfelt thanks for all the kind messages of support and sp many good wishes.