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The Box of Memories-A Poem

Updated on January 12, 2013

The Box of Memories


I open up the shoebox,

I found it in my loft,

Hidden in a corner,

Rain damaged, corners soft,

Blackened with mildew,

And speckled with dust,

I rattled it gently

Then opened it up.


Inside there were letters,

And photos, black and

White, some sepia, aged

With time and neglect,

I put them away out of respect.


But they sat in my study a while,

And I remembered the photos,

And one of a man with a smile

In uniform, so young. Was he adored

By some pretty young girl in the forties?


Or the son of a proud mother who held

This photo close to her heart each night

As bombs fell on our town and he

Was miles away, fighting an enemy

But she prayed for her boy to return,

And love his girl in his turn.


I open the box again and take

The ribbon from the sheaves

Of thinning paper, the cursive

writing pretty, a girl’s hand.

I read the first of many letters

And understand.


The ribbon retied.

The box resealed

In her delicate hand

The truth revealed.

I am no more than

A voyeur this time

And I return their box of memories

To its dusty confines.

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    • Jools99 profile image
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      Jools99 4 years ago from North-East UK

      Dianna, how wonderful to still have those letters. We really should cherish these pieces of the past.

    • Jools99 profile image
      Author

      Jools99 4 years ago from North-East UK

      wildove5, many thanks. I don't share my business on Fakebook!

    • Jools99 profile image
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      Jools99 4 years ago from North-East UK

      Mary, many thanks - I bet you treasure that shoebox. I love it when I go to my parent's house and they're feeling nostalgic - all of those old photos, school reports etc :o), I still love looking through them.

    • johnr54 profile image

      Joanie Ruppel 4 years ago from Texas

      Your poem really made me think about some beautiful memories I have from old letters, handwriting, recipes, and photos. Carly Simon has a great song that expresses some of these feelings called "Letters Never Sent."

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 4 years ago

      Very lovely. I remember opening my mother's letters and how much I found them so moving. Thanks for the beauty of this box.

    • wildove5 profile image

      wildove5 4 years ago from Cumberland, R.I.

      Very touching. Most people would have shared it on FB,,, this way however is very classy! Nice job!

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 4 years ago from Florida

      Just beautiful.....I had an old shoebox for years with precious memories, too.

      Voted UP, and shared.

    • RealConception7 profile image

      RealConception7 4 years ago

      Beautiful poem, well written. "I am no more than A voyeur this time"

      Loved it.

    • Jools99 profile image
      Author

      Jools99 4 years ago from North-East UK

      Rich, many thanks for your comment. So glad you liked the poem.

    • rcrumple profile image

      Rich 4 years ago from Kentucky

      As curiosity cause one to glance inside an open window, recognition of what one can see creates a feeling of being an intruder.

      Seriously, a beautiful read.

    • Jools99 profile image
      Author

      Jools99 4 years ago from North-East UK

      dghbrh - Hi! Thanks so much for stopping by to read and comment - I appreciate it. So glad that you enjoyed it enough to share :o)

    • dghbrh profile image

      deergha 4 years ago from ...... a place beyond now and beyond here !!!

      Hello Julie.....such a moving poem.....shoe box always a treasure of so many memories. A deep thought with some heartfelt emotion...really loved your work, votes up and sharing:-)

    • Jools99 profile image
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      Jools99 4 years ago from North-East UK

      Michelle, many thanks for your comment and for the share -I appreciate it. So glad you liked the poem.

    • midget38 profile image

      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      Beautiful and touching, Jools. That shoebox can hold so many memories for us!! Sharing this lovely poem.

    • Jools99 profile image
      Author

      Jools99 5 years ago from North-East UK

      BrightforYou,many thanks for your kind comment!

    • brightforyou profile image

      Helen 5 years ago from Florida

      Lovely work!

    • Jools99 profile image
      Author

      Jools99 5 years ago from North-East UK

      PP, many thanks for stopping by and leaving your kind comment and for sharing, you have made my day :o)

    • prairieprincess profile image

      Sharilee Swaity 5 years ago from Canada

      Wow! This is so beautifully written. I love the respect that you show by not reading it at first, and then when you do, it's with a respect to the person's story. Even though they are no longer alive, they still deserve this respect. Voted up and more, and sharing. So lovely!

    • Vinaya Ghimire profile image

      Vinaya Ghimire 5 years ago from Nepal

      I came back for second read. This poem is esthetically beautiful.

    • Jools99 profile image
      Author

      Jools99 5 years ago from North-East UK

      Blond Logic - great profile name! Yes, you're right about cloud technology robbing us of what used to be a great 'community' activity - old boxes of photos being dragged out and then looked at anew, shared and remembered with pleasure. The space saving of digital tech is great, but it might be making us all a little bit less 'human'.

    • Jools99 profile image
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      Jools99 5 years ago from North-East UK

      Peggy, thanks so much for your comment - I had just read your cigar box hub this morning and was reminded of this poem, nice coincidence. Thanks for the share!

    • Blond Logic profile image

      Mary Wickison 5 years ago from Brazil

      In the future, this won't be possible. With people keeping their photos on cloud storage sites. There is something so real, so nostalgic about holding a photo in your hands. As you say, perhaps it had been held to someone's heart as a connection to someone who had died or was at war. Technology is robbing us of our dusty boxes of memories. I love looking through old photos even if I don't know everyone in them.

      Lovely poem.Voted up and beautiful.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

      How very beautiful is this poem to which many people can probably relate. I have such letters and photos and as the last person in my nuclear family, I am currently sorting through those many boxes and deciding where they should ultimately end up. They are precious! Voting this up, beautiful and socially SHARED.

    • Jools99 profile image
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      Jools99 5 years ago from North-East UK

      Alocsin, thanks for your great comment and yes, there are parallels there - thanks for your astute observation, got me thinking.

    • alocsin profile image

      alocsin 5 years ago from Orange County, CA

      Voting this one Up and Beautiful -- I see parallels with the different boxes we keep within our own minds that we open and close as needed.

    • Jools99 profile image
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      Jools99 5 years ago from North-East UK

      Spirit Whisperer, thanks so much for dropping by and leaving such a kind comment - and thanks to Nell for posting it.

    • Spirit Whisperer profile image

      Xavier Nathan 5 years ago from Isle of Man

      This is a very beautiful poem I found posted by Nell Rose on my Facebook wall. very beautiful indeed, thank you and I also thank Nell for sharing it.

    • Jools99 profile image
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      Jools99 5 years ago from North-East UK

      Nell, thanks for visiting and leaving such a great comment.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 5 years ago from England

      Amazing poem, a whole story in a few sentences, I love the ending, the way that you placed the box back with respect, voted and shared! nell

    • Jools99 profile image
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      Jools99 5 years ago from North-East UK

      Bravewarrior, thanks so much for dropping by and leaving such a kind comment, much appreciated.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 5 years ago from Central Florida

      Simply beautiful!

    • Jools99 profile image
      Author

      Jools99 5 years ago from North-East UK

      Europewalker, hi! Thanks so much for leaving your kind comment. Glad you liked it.

    • europewalker profile image

      europewalker 5 years ago

      Beautifully written poem. It makes you wonder just how many shoe boxes hold such touching memories.

    • Jools99 profile image
      Author

      Jools99 5 years ago from North-East UK

      Sonya, that is what I meant to do. I wrote it and left it to one side, considering another verse or two but I knew that I had no more to write, you can create your own past for them, just like I did.

    • Sonya L Morley profile image

      Sonya L Morley 5 years ago from Edinburgh

      Evocative poem, gentle and beautiful, it had me thinking what their story might have been.

    • Jools99 profile image
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      Jools99 5 years ago from North-East UK

      Lauren, Hi! Many thanks for dropping by and leaving such a kind comment.

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      Lauren-T 5 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      The imagery you use is so vivid and beautiful. This is a lovely poem!

    • Jools99 profile image
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      Jools99 5 years ago from North-East UK

      Many thanks Audrey.

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 5 years ago from California

      Really beautiful Jools!

    • Jools99 profile image
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      Jools99 5 years ago from North-East UK

      Xstatis, Hi! Many thanks for dripping by and leaving such a nice comment.

    • xstatic profile image

      Jim Higgins 5 years ago from Eugene, Oregon

      Beuatiful poem here. Found it thru a commnet you made elsewhere, want to read more!

    • Jools99 profile image
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      Jools99 5 years ago from North-East UK

      Poetic Fool, Hi! Many thanks for your comment.

    • Jools99 profile image
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      Jools99 5 years ago from North-East UK

      Lesley, thansk for dropping by and leaving your lovely comment, much appreciated.

    • Jools99 profile image
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      Jools99 5 years ago from North-East UK

      Vinaya, many thanks for your comment.

    • profile image

      Poetic Fool 5 years ago

      I agree with Vinaya, evocative and beautiful! Such memorabilia can take you back before even your time, making you feel you are encroaching on the intimacies of the past. Love the attitude of respect and reverence this conveys. Thanks for sharing it!

    • Movie Master profile image

      Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      Beautiful Jools, so beautiful and touching.

      thank you for sharing, voted up and shared.

      Best wishes Lesley

    • Vinaya Ghimire profile image

      Vinaya Ghimire 5 years ago from Nepal

      Evocative and beautiful!

    • Jools99 profile image
      Author

      Jools99 5 years ago from North-East UK

      Happyboomernurse, many thanks for your kind comment. Glad you liked it.

    • Happyboomernurse profile image

      Gail Sobotkin 5 years ago from South Carolina

      Loved this touching, beautiful poem.

      Thanks for sharing it.

    • Jools99 profile image
      Author

      Jools99 5 years ago from North-East UK

      Lilleyth, many thanks for reading and your kind comment.

    • Lilleyth profile image

      Suzanne Sheffield 5 years ago from Mid-Atlantic

      Beautiful, touching, well written poem.

    • Jools99 profile image
      Author

      Jools99 5 years ago from North-East UK

      Bob, I totally relate to what you describe; my mam is 70 now and sometimes it is easy to forget that she was once a baby, once a toddler, once a teenager and so on. Looking at old photographs can sometimes be very poignant. Many thanks for your comment.

    • Jools99 profile image
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      Jools99 5 years ago from North-East UK

      Flora, I totally agree about the online photos not being the same. My family would regularly get out old photos and all have a laugh at some and we lingered over others, looking at photos is a community event, best shared with others.

    • diogenes profile image

      diogenes 5 years ago from UK and Mexico

      Hi ...I always feel sad at yesterdays. So many have lived and died, their dance such a brief moment in eternity. Whe I see pics of my mother, young, full of life and playing in the surf then remember her dying of cancer in a lonely room...

      Lovely poem

      Bob

    • profile image

      Flora Breen Robison 5 years ago

      I have boxes of old scrapbooks, photo albums, diaries etc. Every now and then I go through them. Beautiful poem and I identify strongly with every word. an online photo album is handy, but it can't replace a real photo album in your hands.

    • Jools99 profile image
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      Jools99 5 years ago from North-East UK

      Ashlee, man thanks for your comment, glad you enjoyed the ending.

    • Jools99 profile image
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      Jools99 5 years ago from North-East UK

      Naomi, thanks so much for dropping by and commenting, I appreciate it.

    • ashleeosborn profile image

      ashleeosborn 5 years ago

      Absolutely loved the ending. Great poem.

    • Naomi R. Cox profile image

      Naomi R. Cox 5 years ago from Elberton, Georgia

      I really enjoyed reading your poem. I could almost see, the opening of the box, the letters and photos inside. A wonderful poem indeed. Thanks for sharing it with us. Well done!

    • Jools99 profile image
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      Jools99 5 years ago from North-East UK

      GoodLady, thanks so much for your kind comment.

    • Jools99 profile image
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      Jools99 5 years ago from North-East UK

      Billy, many thanks for your comment, your box must have been like finding treasure.

    • GoodLady profile image

      Penelope Hart 5 years ago from Rome, Italy

      Its a beatiful poem, pretty ribbons and the photo of the man in a uniform, "with a smile" hiding the pain of loss. Gut wrenching image. Thanks. Voting and

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Love this! I found a similar box after my mother died; what a trip sifting through that box, reading the old notes and letters, looking at pictures I had never seen...great, great memories. Great hub!

    • Jools99 profile image
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      Jools99 5 years ago from North-East UK

      Victoria, thanks for your kind comment, vote up etc, much appreciated!

    • Victoria Lynn profile image

      Victoria Lynn 5 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      Beautiful, gentle, respectful. Your soft adjectives lend themselves to sweet descriptions. Loved this poem. Voted up, interesting, beautiful, and awesome!

    • Jools99 profile image
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      Jools99 5 years ago from North-East UK

      Susan, many thanks for your comment, yes, sometimes things are not such a dilemma.

    • Jools99 profile image
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      Jools99 5 years ago from North-East UK

      Graham, many thanks for dropping by and commenting.

    • Just Ask Susan profile image

      Susan Zutautas 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Respectfully put back to where it was found. Beautiful poem!

    • old albion profile image

      Graham Lee 5 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hi Jools. beautiful and moving. I am sure that there are still many of those boxes awaiting discovery. Well done.

      Graham.

    • Jools99 profile image
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      Jools99 5 years ago from North-East UK

      Many thanks for your comment.

    • ytsenoh profile image

      Cathy 5 years ago from Louisiana, Idaho, Kauai, Nebraska, South Dakota, Missouri

      I love how you display images and close with the power of respect. At first, I was thinking about Dickinson's poems found. I enjoyed this read, so thumbs up. Thank you.

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