the Box Room

The box room was always full of dust
it settled in between the pillars of assorted trunks
piles of coloured cases all stored aboard
like us children for long stretches of school term.
I loved the smell of it, the grime of years penetrating
deep into wood panels and the way particles flew fairy-like
each time another box was stacked, tiny motes lit by the one
small attic window. Here was an Aladdin’s cave
of far away places, baggage stuck with colourful labels
foreign countries I knew only from my stamp album
and the pink-filled world map of a sun-setting Empire.

My trunk was post-box red with leather corners
loitering in the silent dark like a forgotten go-between
’til at term’s end the room was suddenly flung open
for a scrabble and scramble invasion
luggage laughingly located, lugged and slid
down the inclined ramp, owners following
gymslips flying, regardless of splinters
we packed feverishly, flinging possessions pell-mell
anticipating the haulage truck’s arrival, and away
our baggage would go, before us, homeward bound.

The box room vacant again, its dust unperturbed
and the ghost trapped within, sighing amongst spiders.

A plain and simple poem from me for a change and one for my Poetics Prompt : Room(s)

50 thoughts on “the Box Room

  1. When our little ground floor two-bedroom maisonette became too small for our family, we moved to the top floor of another block where we lived in one with three bedrooms, and I got the box room. Your poem reminded me of my little room, with a large box at the top of the stairs where I used to sit as a teenager, reading or playing my guitar.
    I like how the box room in your poem was always full of dust, Laura, and that it was full of assorted trunks and cases, ‘an Aladdin’s cave of far away places’. It reminds me a bit of the box room at my grandparents’ house – it also had a ‘ghost trapped within, sighing amongst spiders’.

    1. this box room was next to the dormitories and when young I would scurry past for fear of the ghost within – I suppose thats where all ghosts live undisturbed most of the time!

  2. This box room with its dust reminds me so much of the attic at my grandparent’s place… the dust sailing through the room, the scent… and maybe also the knowledge that there might be treasures to be found… (but I also remember my fears running through the attic.

    1. than k you marina – this room was the link between school and home and surfaced (from dusty memories) as soon as I thought of what to write for the prompt

  3. I like the description of the ghost sighing at the end and the description of how “particles flew fairy-like” while packing.

  4. Your story captivated me from beginning to end! It reminded me a bit of my recent poem “Special Things” in yet another attic. You created beautiful word pictures, and I felt as if I were there!

  5. I, too, wrote an attic poem recently. I was not familiar with the term “Box room”, although most of us have a spare bedroom, or garage, or shed soon filled with old boxes and furniture and knick-knacks

  6. you vividly painted a room and situation I used to dream of, boarding school …
    loved the ghosts dust and excitement to pack and go home!

  7. Storage rooms always have the atmosphere of waiting for something, and you’ve caught it. It reminds me of some of the attics in my parents’ houses. (K)

  8. How can you create so many wonderful poems in quick succession? ! ! !

  9. I love your poem. It brought back memories of our Attic when I was a child. Such great images you have here. I liked these lines:
    baggage stuck with colourful labels
    foreign countries I knew only from my stamp album
    and the pink-filled world map of a sun-setting Empire.


  10. I really love this. It’s so evocative of the time and place, that dusty room of the past

    foreign countries I knew only from my stamp album
    and the pink-filled world map of a sun-setting Empire

    My husband and I read our horoscopes as a joke in the morning, and mine said something about traveling through reading today–well, you took me to another place. Box room is not something we say in the U.S., and I never went away to school, until I went to college.

    1. many thanks Merril – virtual travel is all most of us are able to do now so thank you for stopping by the UK on a nostalgic trip back to boarding school and the box room

  11. Reminds me of visiting my Grandparents’ old house they had a box room filled with all interesting things – probably just junk looking back, but it seemed so interesting when I was younger. Thanks for the poem, and the memory

  12. What a fabulous world your poem creates. I have only ever read of box rooms in English novels. I didn’t know they really existed. Now I know better.

  13. I found this an absolutely fascinating read! You’ve described both the box room, and the details remembered from a child away from home at a boarding school. I think? I’ve been re-reading the Harry Potter series (my third time) and I’m reminded of his trunk he takes to Hogwarts each year. I had my great-grandfather’s trunk for many years….it also had stickers on it…very faded though. And in faded ink, his name in block print.
    I really enjoyed reading this!

    1. thank you for enjoying these memories from years of boarding and hence the boxroom a profound link between home and school -it was not quite the experience of a Harry Potter though 😉

  14. This poem meant to me the cleaning out of the history of someone who has just left us. All those years those things were there and should have been shared with that someone, but were not. Now we will never know what some of the treasures meant to them.

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