Shoe Box

 

Old, useless and precious container,

A smell, the musty cardboard that it feels.

Smooth surfaces, and harsh, creased vertices, a

Drawn out reveal like the string

Of an old shoe:

Lifting the lid, sarcophagus

For small children;

Inside, papery remains, tissue crinkles,

Tumble weeds of crunched-up schooldays

And that black, beetle-polish smell

Like autumn,

Like a brand new book, painted to leather;

And under that remembering smell

The twin shells, two ornaments of dark

And shiny obsolescence. Lift from the paper

Two obsidian artifacts, which treasures we bestowed

As accolades of uniformity and glory.

My very own old shoes, worn so much

So long ago, beneath the stairs had kept.

 

 

This was very much inspired by Heaney, even though the structure is less regimented. The focus on one item, an ancient artifact shrouded in its own history, was the real drive for this. Revisiting any item from schooldays is bound to be an evocative and curious experience. I loved combining the physical properties of the shoe (black, leathery, musty, worn) with the emotional associations (beetle-like, autumnal, evocative of schoolboys and their exploits in the leafy streets at the start of a new school year). It’s rediscovery and reminiscence. 

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