Inspired by the Poetry Sisters, my critique group decided to set monthly challenges for one another. After much debate, we christened ourselves the Sunday Night Swaggers and premiered in August with a challenge from Heidi to write definitos, a form she invented.
This month it was my turn to come up with the challenge. I remembered an old post from Lee Ann Spillane about a Highlights Workshop she attended with Suzanne Bloom a few years ago. Lee Ann wrote:
“Suzanne had an assortment of mystery packed into tiny boxes: metal boxes, cardboard boxes, long boxes, jewelry boxes, cloth boxes, wooden boxes, soap boxes and small boxes. We had two questions to guide our group talk:
Who was the owner of the box?
How did what is inside the box transform him or her?”
I tried this activity with teachers at my school and it sparked many interesting conversations and inspired some amazing writing. My challenge this month was more open-ended: write a poem inspired by a box.
Since I first read Lee Ann’s post, I’ve accumulated quite a collection of boxes, with lots of help from my friend Colette, who is always on the lookout for cool stuff. I shared a photo of my boxes with my writing partners, but also encouraged everyone to pick their own box if they wanted.
So which box did I choose? Not the one I thought I would. As you may know, we’ve been renovating our house (for way too long) and I’ve been sorting through closets and cabinets. One day after I posed this challenge, I found an assortment of tea similar to this:
My mind immediately started racing, and my box has now been transformed into a mini cabinet of curiosities. (Read more about them here.)
Now that I had an idea, all I had to do was write the poem, right? Yeah, not so much. The start of school and an ongoing medical issue with my husband (nothing too serious, but stressful and frustrating) kept distracting me from writing this poem.
My Cabinet of Curiosities
This box is full of treasure
I found scattered on the ground:
A fallen feather
Fragment of forgotten flight
An empty marvel
Seashell or angel wing
Who’s to say?
Orange, brown, and blue
Resting her wings
A baby hawk’s
Snow-blue mottled egg
Gum tree seed pod,
barbed, brown orb
An earth-bound star
Coins from the sea
Not silver or gold
Baubles, relics, rarities,
Each one holds a memory
carried in my heart.
Draft, © 2019, Catherine Flynn
What did my fellow swaggers come up with? Visit them to find out!
Heidi at My Juicy Little Universe
Margaret at Reflections on the Teche
Molly at Nix the Comfort Zone
Linda at A Word Edgewise
Then don’t forget to stop by and say hello to Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong at Poetry for Children for the Poetry Friday Roundup!