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Packing Boxes: A Poem for Moving Day

Yes, I’m moving again… and heading offline for a week or so.

Take Me Too

Moving always brings its own travails - but writing helps us keep things in perspective.

Here’s a piece I wrote earlier in the week when I was getting seriously bogged down in the apparently endless task of packing boxes.


For weeks she’d worked on the packing up of boxes,
delighting at first in the careful ordering of books,
hidden gems rediscovered, but as the days wore on
and the piles rose ever higher,
she doubted she could stem the flood of objects,
endless stuff,
remembered plans that never happened,
chapters opened but long since reached The End,
and even as she worked, furiously,
to cram down objects, dreams, and messed up memories,
she feared it wasn’t possible
to pack up a life,
stacked neatly into boxes then sealed and neatly labelled,
and craved the vastness of a
to put it all away, contained and containable,
so the objects of her life could be moved and then:
and stream out roudily,
untidily unstoppable,
dripping with memories,
teeming with the signs of a life lived openly,
the boxes
crammed with the
detritus of the mess we make
when we open up our hearts,
and live life without the labels.


PS The format was inspired by the 10 line poems written by Maya Stein and sent out by email each Tuesday.  She calls them 10-line Tuesdays.  If you’d like to receive a copy, you can sign up at her site, One Paragraph At a Time.  Thoroughly recommended - as are the poems on her site.

This started off as a 10 line poem but the formatting went skewiff when I dropped it in as a post… so it’s now found its own form ;-)

PPS I know the poem is less than perfect… but I got so much from the writing of it I didn’t care!  Writing is delicious like that sometimes :-) See you on the other side!

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  2. Julie Gibbons
    Twitter: JulieGibbons

    So pleased you shared this, Joanna - it encapsulated the process of the boxes… I recognise the beginning so well, before the maelstrom of it all catches up!

    Wishing you a safe & happy move. Catch you on the other side xxx

  3. Jackie Walker
    Twitter: jackiewalker

    As Julie says, I’m sure you’re ignited sparks of recognition in many of us!

    Very tasty writing, like life, is best enjoyed with no labels - I love that you’ve embraced it so fully :)

  4. --Deb says:

    Wishing you the best of Moving Karma, Joanna! (I can’t believe it’s almost exactly a year since we were doing the same thing.)

  5. Diana says:

    I love this. It says it all. I still have things in boxes from 7 years ago. I think I may be afraid of the emotions opening them would bring. Where does the past go and why so quickly. It’s like I just met it and it’s gone.

  6. [...] so much for all the good wishes for the move… everything went as smoothly as trying to move your whole life in a vanful of boxes can [...]

  7. Joanna
    Twitter: joannapaterson

    Thanks all for the good wishes… the move went as smoothly as these things can. I’ve stored a ridiculously large amount of boxes-of-the-past in the attic… maybe they can safely stay there, for long enough. The rest of them have been unpacked to join life in the present ;-)