Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Write in the POETRY genre (05/17/07)
TITLE: The Box
By Laurie Walker
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Safe within her winter warmth
Smiling tolerantly at proclamations of love,
Each as insincere as the next,
To win a heart long ago frozen.
Easily she dismisses them
Forgotten once out of sight.
Until one day the stranger comes.
Something stirs; within the ice a crack appears.
Her arms fold tightly to stop it.
If merely standing before her
Can cause the ice to crack
What would happen with a smile, or touch?
She asks what he desires
“To love you,” he answers.
“My heart is only a thing of legend,” she warns.
“Even I cannot claim to know
“If the legend is true.
“Do not play this game.
“You cannot win.”
He doesn’t speak, only looks.
Suddenly she is no longer
High Priestess of Winter.
Instead she is woman.
She wonders if he is different
But turns him away.
He is not easily forgotten.
The next day he returns
Offering a box wrapped in gold ribbon.
She laughs and rips the trimming off,
Tossing it carelessly aside.
Lifting up the lid
She cries out in anger
“A joke. Your box is empty, sir.”
Reflected in his eye –
She demands to know
Why the box is empty.
“It is not empty, my Queen,
To eyes that will seek.”
As he leaves the crack becomes a fissure.
The next day he bears another gift.
She does not laugh,
Though her eyes remain cold.
She removes the ribbon
And tosses it aside.
Lifting the lid she cries out in frustration,
“It is empty.”
Sorrow crosses his face.
As he turns away he speaks
“The box is not empty
To those who will knock.”
The fissure deepens into a crevice
A third time he offers a box.
She takes it carefully,
Unties the ribbon, placing it gently to her side.
Opening the lid
She cries out in despair
“It is empty.”
A tear drops from his eye.
She stares but does not understand
When he says,
“The box is not empty
To those who will ask.”
The crevice becomes a gulf.
The next day her suitor does not come.
She tries to hide from the pain
But the ice has cracked and is melting.
There is nothing to fill the void
Where once ice had kept her safe.
She lines up the boxes and tries to see
With blind eyes.
Deep in her head mulling and pondering
What riddles he had to offer.
For days she stares,
All the while wondering
Where the man could have gone.
His claims of love becoming a scar –
Something to be longed for
To regret not having.
A tear falls from her eye.
She holds the tiny drop on her finger
It has been so long since one escaped
From the well-hidden confines of her heart.
Another drop joins the first.
Soon they freely flow
Until she admits to being human.
The gulf becomes an abyss.
She he wonders what will become of her.
She is unworthy of her suitor’s love.
What in her is precious or valuable?
He offered her love, no strings attached.
But there was nothing for her to return.
At last the abyss grows into a dark, black void.
Until one day a hand lifts her up.
She cries out, “This box is empty.
“There is nothing in it to love.
“Nothing to give back.”
As he speaks something stirs once more.
“The box need not be empty
“For those who will seek,
“For those who will knock,
“For those who will ask.”
He holds her close
And something happens
That has not happened
In a very long time.
She feels the beat of her heart.
She cries out, “I seek.”
Warmth trickles in –
Not winter’s warmth.
The warmth of spring
Of renewed hope, rebirth, and love.
The void begins to fill
Until only an abyss,
And then a gulf.
She cries out, “I knock.”
Her body is alive
With the fire that always burns,
Keeping her heart beating.
She rejoices in the rhythm so long forgotten.
The gulf is filled
Until only a crevice,
And the crevice becomes a mere fissure.
At last she cries out, “I ask.”
The fissure dwindles
Until only a crack,
At last the crack is filled.
She whispers, “I love.”
The Savior holds her close
As she listens to the beat of her heart.
To those who will let Him in
The box is not empty.
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