Tuesday, November 23, 2010

horn of plenty

A lop-sided shoe box holds
the leftovers of a lack-luster
childhood: a scout pin,
more pot-metal than brass,
two loose patches never stitched
to a sash. The sun goes down.
No recitals, no blue ribbons,
just a school snapshot, creased
across the face and a ragged proof
of baptism, by immersion. Contemplate
the cornucopia, shiny, in a trophy case.
Breathe a huff of moisture on the glass,
take out your hankie and polish 
a round view, browse, deep, until
you see the bounty of a fruitful womb;
loving cups line your table, play
hopscotch in your keep.

Tess Kincaid
November 2010


  1. wow you are really early this week..got a few of those shoe boxes full of memory myself...

  2. a bit sad. but the end...a fruitful womb brings loving ones to share the table with.

  3. I hope everyone has a shoe box that they can return to, time and time again.

  4. as someone with a rather small shoebox ,
    this was very touching

  5. a shoebox of memories--sad that there seems to be so little joy--now I am going to have to go in search of the ones that have been buried in closets and see what it feels like to look through old treasures...have a wonderful Thanksgiving--c

  6. I'm smiling. Very visual experience for me today. I loved it. Loving cups line your table, yes indeed.

  7. I have multiple shoe boxes tucked away in corners of closets and storage cabinets. The ritual of taking them out, gazing at the contents, remembering ... is very comforting. Thank you for this prompt today. Your poem is inspiring.

  8. Yep, shoe boxes, tins, cedar chest all hold mementos from times past. Lovely post.

  9. more pot-metal than brass had such a sadness to it, but yes! Loving cups at the end.

    So thankful for you and the wonder and beauty that you bring to all of us1

    Happy Thanksgiving to all at the Manor!

  10. I can't tell you how many of those shoe boxes I have gone through and put back just the way they were. Thankful we all are to have the memory. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. I'm always thankful for you.

  11. I confess I have a box or two that I have to take out occasionally and remind myself who I was so long ago. Beautiful!

  12. Dear Willow, And whose secrets do the shoebox hold I wonder? Could they belong to Mr W? I like to think of you both sharing the loving cup.....

  13. Beautifully rich and deep, Willow. Sad on the one hand to think of a life rendered to a shoe box but a wealth of memories to restore the soul.

  14. What a moving last line ...to share your table with...I think that every Wednesday, when my grand children come with their mum and dad and we gather round for another "mad" meal...never perfect only full of love.

  15. love thinking back on childhood memories...i was listening to the chipmunk christmas songs last night. That takes me way back to Christmas with my sister, mom, and dad :) Very nostalgic poem, Willow

  16. Such visual poetry. I liked what it did within my mind..

    shifting with the winds

  17. Nostalgic glimpes of times past... beautiful thoughts and images shared. Reminders of what this holiday is all about.

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

  18. loved it! went looking for my junior high yearbooks recently and realized there must be a whole box of my memories in a landfill somewhere

  19. Edith, actually, I wrote this with the contents of my own shoe box in mind.

  20. Unlike mine, Mr. W's shoe box is stuffed with ribbons and awards!

  21. "two loose patches never stitched to a sash"--ha,that brings a smile :) Yes, those shoeboxes, no matter whose, are the real cornucopias of our lives. Bittersweet.
    Lovely poem. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

  22. 'until
    you see the bounty of a fruitful womb;
    loving cups line your table, play
    hopscotch in your keep.'

    Lovely poem, Willow, especially this piece, beautiful.

  23. Brimming with nostalgia, and
    rife with the memories of childhood,
    yes we all have our shoe boxes,
    in reality and in our minds.
    This poem is part melancholy
    and part maternal pride and
    unconditional love, and it sets
    the tone for a more practical
    approach to Turkey Day, and
    the arrival of extended family.

    Love the lines /just a school
    snapshot, creased through the
    face/ and the sentiment in
    /play hopscotch in your keep/
    and though this magpie comes
    early in practicum, it weighs in
    heavy in our hearts.

    We just got several inches of
    snow from a viscous winter storm
    and hope it does not snarl everyone's
    Thanksgiving plans. We had
    hundreds of motorists stuck on
    I-5 last night at midnight, walking
    off and abandoning their vehicles.

  24. It's amazing, the power of nostalgia--so many memories from just such bits and bobs. Lovely, Tess.

  25. If all I had in life were the rather sparse shoeboxes of my lack-luster childhood, I'm not sure I could find much to be thankful about, but as I look at my table on Thursday surrounded by the "fruit of my womb" I know I'll be overcome with a grateful heart. I'll be thinking about the "loving cups lining my table" and know that my cup runneth over. Thanks Willow! Lovely poem. :-)

  26. Willow,
    A life well lived isit's own reward.
    Life holds no greater rewards than our children!

  27. A lack-luster childhood doesn't necessarily mean unhappy though does it? I usually relate to the sad times. Nice list of items to bring memories to the forefront.

  28. I meant to say do you ever enter the Fish Publishing Poetry competition, Willow?
    Its based here in Ireland, you can find it online, I think the closing date is soon, though.
    Best of luck if you do. I might enter the short fiction one if I feel brave.

  29. Brigid, thanks for the heads up on the Fish competition. I'm in the midst of submitting, so I will most definitely check them out!

  30. Actually, Willow, I just looked it up, the closing date is march for poetry, its the fiction one that is soon.

  31. Brigid, I made a note of it and will submit after the holidays. I'd not heard of Fish, so I thank you. And good luck to you on the fiction. You're a talented writer. Go for the gold!

  32. A hoard of memories in that box. In fact, I have a school snapshot creased through the face so this was particularly evocative for me!

    (Incidentally, I'm still murmuring 'baritone moon' from time to time. That phrase will haunt me every time I see a full, brassy moon!)

  33. This evokes melancholy...I am saddened by the future loss of my rascally children, all the while I pack to leave them for 2 weeks and can hardly bear it.

  34. Terresa, I left on a two week trip to Europe when mine were 9, 7 and 3. I missed them so much I cut my trip short and came home three days early!

  35. The left overs from my childhood contain so few items. I have to admit I read it a few times thinking about that very thing.

  36. I always feel sorry for those people whose only days of glory were in their youth -- the high school quarterback who never made the college team, the most popular girl, etc. As a wise man said, It ain't over till it's over.

  37. Isn't it wonderful the way life works? Even if your own childhood was lacking...you get the chance to make it right in your children's lives. I know there were things I swore I would never do...and I didn't. There were things I swore I would do and I did. I think it turned out okay.

  38. My shoe box is from my early adulthood when the kids were young...little momentos, and little letters and notes they wrote me...hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving Willow!

  39. Vicki, I totally agree. So many things are beyond one's control as a child. Thank goodness for adulthood. You're so right, it ain't over til it's over!

  40. Everyone says "sad" after they have read...this is the shoebox that most of us have tucked away...I don't feel sad...I feel like I finally belong..is anyone more intelligent or privileged because their metal is brass? Loving the 'cups' at my table...they are my brass.

  41. I'm beginning to feel a disconnect with the trinkets, although I love to think "who was that person" I looked good, damn! Yes children are what we were and then some or should be!

  42. thanks! I also joined the magpie group. i am just sad that my poem wasn't that great.


  43. great photo prompt and wow I like your poem. Just went through our entire house-emptied every cupboard, shoe box etc....many things went to new places-what a memory event.

  44. i love the staccato of sound this poem creates. I would have liked to hear you read this poem. short and crisp!

  45. Shoe boxes have a lot to answer for.

  46. Now is the time to reminisce
    over our family history. Even
    though they can't be with us
    the memory keeps them close.
    That was beautifully written.
    From my house to yours, Happy
    Thanksgiving. I know you are such a great cook I bet the table will
    be awesome. yvonne

  47. ringing with sadness and authenticity both......yet another completely satisfying read from you, creative soul

    happy thanksgiving dear willow♡

  48. So many childhood memories locked in my shoebox... such fun to go back in time for a bit...
    Lovely thoughts for this Thanksgiving week Willow!
    It's always a delight to stop here first on my flight through Magpie Tales.

  49. Thank you some very sweet thoughts....in the shoebox, loved what you wrote!

  50. I still have my childhood treasure box...it's the little things you know!

    Have a wonderful holiday!


  51. A bottomless shoebox of memories and gratitiude. :)

    Happy Thanksgiving, Willow.

  52. Dear Willow,
    I understand this bit about the shoebox keep cum scrapbooks [though drawings, movie butts and the girl's concert programmes fill them mostly] and trophies playing hopscotch on the table. I still have mine from gymnastics days and the girls are adding their own.

    I am visiting through these couple of months. Sometimes I take a break from poetry when I feel I am getting stale but will continue to read up/comment as much as I can. This time I am taking a break to research my new book on Makyung legends.It is quite consuming.

    I will miss the Magpies but will be back before anyone realises I am gone! Have fun !

  53. Nino, best wishes on your new book! I'm sure I can speak for all the Maggies in saying we'll miss your work.

    I'd love to see your collection of trophies. My only loving cups are of the human variety!

  54. memories are made of this, sadly, verdigris overcomes all of us and all of them in the end.

  55. Miss,
    Pardon my intrusion. I don't often comment on sites but wanted to tell you that poetry has a way with me as no other literary form. I inadvertently came across your words and wish to tell you how lovely they are!

  56. More and more, the comments
    pile up like cordwood in the
    back shed, all steaming with
    the sun on them, lifting their
    cares like mist off their moss,
    wafting that wonderful oder
    of pitch and bark, and the
    chatter of friends, and the
    laughter of their whelps,
    and the tears of the past
    dried in the cracks of
    yellowed photographs,
    all here in a shoebox
    at Willow Manor as Tess
    lovingly fingers the brass
    and sash.

    Yes, all this and much more
    as Willow reaches out across
    the globe touching poets

  57. Any work that uses the word 'hopscotch' is fine by me.

  58. Glenn, I love when your kind comments wax poetical, with some of my favorite words, like moss, pitch and bark.

  59. Red-handed, I'm glad someone enjoyed hopscotch as much as I did. :)

  60. I haven't seen my shoebox of memories for years. I wonder what happened to it? Oh well, as I recall there wasn't much in it. It's safer to keep memories in my head; that way I always know where they are.

  61. super smart take.
    love the shoebox of memories idea.

    My Magpie

    has some awards/treats in it, have fun and enjoy the blog love.

  62. Beautiful poem; expressing a nostalgia that ties the imagery together through well crafted lines. Great use of directives to the reader.

  63. play
    hopscotch in your keep.
    A lovely end for a delightful poem!

  64. Despite the feel of regrets for things not done, I feel a contentment in all that was. Hope your dinner table is full this Thanksgiving. Happy Magpie, OSW & of course Thanksgiving to you.

  65. Detail drives the images, which drive the meaning. Your touch on these words is light and sure.

  66. Love those shoeboxes... but must say, most of mine are kept within the memories of my heart rather than in boxes themselves.

    Hope everyone has a blessed Thanksgiving with the ones they love!

  67. thoroughly enjoyed reading this and glad you shared it with OSW...i still have my shoebox and in it are my first poems and a couple of football trophies...the angst and the glory LOL...cheers pete

  68. another awesome post and prompt!


  69. A memory keeper that poem
    it holds all we don't want to let go of as we get older

    thanks for sharing with One Shot - great to see you here

    Moonie smiles

  70. I don't believe I still own a single thing from high school days. But I enjoyed your poem about GS goodies and such.

  71. This opens up a boxful of memories - some glad to be remembered, some sad they were not forgot.

  72. Willow,

    You enter areas of plenty: 'lack-luster', 'stitched to a sash', 'no recitals' 'creasedacross' (as one word, great!), 'huff of moisture', 'hankie' and 'hopscotch' (would love both as verbs, somehow!)

    You tap into the places that get to me, for sure! There's more than nostalgia cooking here.


  73. I love finding the boxes of memories. Funny the things we save.

    Your poem itself stirred some memories for me. Thank you Willow. This was really nice.


  74. The opening reminds me of the opening to To Kill A Mockingbird.
    That stark black and white closeup of items being inspected by small hands.
    Plus you mention 'scout.'


  75. Nice... I enjoyed it.. Thanks for sharing..

    ॐ नमः शिवाय
    Om Namah Shivaya
    Twitter: @VerseEveryDay
    Blog: http://shadowdancingwithmind.blogspot.com

  76. So much to unpack from this particular shoe box! I need to "polish a round view" just now, myself, to see the bounty my life's work is producing. Sometimes it's hard to see the cornucopia for the shoe box, isn't it? Oh, and please leave a few knicknacks on your desk...you deserve pretty, even if it is hiding something ;-)

  77. my internet, cable and television went out for 3 days... found myself in my very own 'shoe box.' it was deeply sweet to find that all the spaces that i thought were empty were filled with day to day living. we have more than we think we do... your lovely writing reminds me of this.

  78. Each line you wrote, was like a layer... when peeled, it revealed what was inside... a tenderness that was left unattended and to rot away..
    "Breathe a huff of moisture on the glass" -- I really liked this particular line a lot! It was like clearing out your memories, and bringing some back to the fore..
    Beautifully written, my friend.. xoxo

  79. ahh, I have boxes of stuff that I have sifted through and tossed. I did not see the horn of plenty so this Memories captured...hmmm, pot metal, yes lots of those ephemera are...

  80. this was really good! Don't we all have a "shoebox" of some sort, full of memories?

  81. I really relate to the patches not sewn on! I also loved doing stuff, but couldn't be bothered with the show and tell!
    I tended to keep the shoes and throw away the box! :-)

  82. I love the rhythm you've established, it avoids the obvious.
    A case in point: the insertion of "by immersion". I feel like everything halts for a second and holds me, tightly, in a memory.

  83. This is exactly the kind of poem that I can see the greatest of literature teachers reading and helping his/her students to dissect, word-by-word. In fact, this should be that very poem!

  84. Gentle readers, you are the best. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart. xx

  85. Do you mind being called, willow, Tess? i love both names but so have come to know you as Willow now! :)

  86. Mmm, I don't mind being called Willow at all. Please do! It's just that I've come to the point where I want my real name attached to my poetry.


Inject a few raisins of conversation into the tasteless dough of existence.
― O. Henry (and me)