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Boxes of Our Lives ~ a Billybuc Challenge

John is a poet and short fiction writer who enjoys collaborating on stories with other writers, and partaking in challenges.

Image by jacqueline macou from Pixabay

Image by jacqueline macou from Pixabay

Billybuc’s Writing Challenge

Recently Bill Holland (billybuc) issued a challenge as follows:

"I’m going to give you three photos below. Those are your prompts. I’m going to ask you to use all three of them in your story. The length of your story is up to you, but it must relate to the photos. And yes, if you are a poet, feel free to write a poem about the photos rather than a short story or flash fiction.”

I usually write a piece of short fiction in reply to Bill’s photo prompts but my muse has a mind of her own and this time I was directed/inspired to write this short piece of poetry instead.

For some reason, no matter how I have tried, I can not download the photos Bill provided. I have therefore found other similar photos to use here instead, even though the poem was originally inspired by Bill’s images.

Boxes of Our Lives

Our lives are full of boxes that we will try to fill.

Some are crammed with valuables, while others empty still.

They’re cardboard and they’re flimsy, and prone to wear and tear.

But we stuff them with all odds and ends, seemingly without a care.


We live in bigger boxes called apartments, houses, flats,

Filling them with people, laying out the ”welcome” mat.

Some live in lavish boxes with all the modern cons,

While others are incarcerated in barred boxes for their wrongs.


Image by F. Muhammad from Pixabay

Image by F. Muhammad from Pixabay

We stare at boxes night and day, like TVs, computers, phones.

Sometimes like we’re in a trance, controlled like unmanned drones.

We drive around in boxes too, getting us from A to B,

A routine that we do each day, like an ant or worker bee.


Try to keep your boxes sorted and easily accessed.

The contents should be neatly packed to avoid unneeded stress.

Even at the very end, when we see the big ”STOP” sign,

Our final place of rest’s a box. So let’s just be resigned.


Image by Dieter Fettel from Pixabay

Image by Dieter Fettel from Pixabay

© 2020 John Hansen

Comments

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on December 15, 2020:

Sorry to do that, and get boxes embedded in your head, Linda. Thank you for reading though and finding it interesting.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on December 15, 2020:

This is an interesting poem, John. I think it's going to be hard to keep boxes out of my mind now that I've read it!

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on December 13, 2020:

Hey Li-Jen, it’s always great to receive your comments. Now, you will see everything a different way..boxes everywhere. We can keep our boxes in good order. Have a great week.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on December 13, 2020:

Chrish, good to see you. I hope the situation there has improved and you have an enjoyable Christmas. I am glad my message made sense and yes we can all correct our mistakes and tidy up our boxes.

Li-Jen Hew on December 13, 2020:

Hi Jodah, interesting perspective on boxes. It did not occur to me that we are in boxes every day and it's true. I think in the end we also become boxes haha. We are like the valuables you mentioned. Crammed into boxes all day long. And you concluded well with try to keep boxes sorted out to avoid unneeded stress. That's true. We can make the boxes the home they should. Thanks for sharing.

Chrish Canosa from Manila Philippines on December 13, 2020:

Hi Sir John, the message really do make sense.

Nowadays specially the youths (us) sometimes we misunderstood filling those gaps making sure we don't left any of those boxes empty which means doing the whatever it takes adding the bad and the good in it. Blessed are those who noticed their mistakes and be able to change them. And so I am :-)

Have an awesome day po!

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on December 12, 2020:

Hi Shreya, thank you for reading this poem. It is good to know that you found the concept of us living our lives surrounded by boxes something new to you. It is always a compliment if someone finds our work to be thought provoking.

Shreya Venkat on December 12, 2020:

Lovely and thought provoking read! I never really have thought about this before but it is indeed one of the great ironies of life!

BRENDA ARLEDGE from Washington Court House on December 12, 2020:

Yep...those words were right there itching to come out.

Loved it!

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on December 12, 2020:

Thanks Brenda. I think my muse was right as well. Glad this poem about boxes gave you a chuckle. Take care.

BRENDA ARLEDGE from Washington Court House on December 12, 2020:

John,

I think your muse this time was right.

I so enjoyed reading this one. It put a chuckle on my face.

I suppose it is a bit ironic how we use boxes all the time...especially when in the end...the box will be all ours.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on December 12, 2020:

I am glad you liked the symbolism in the poem, Chitrangada. Yes, always make sure the good karma one is full. Thanks for reading, and you have a great weekend too.

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on December 11, 2020:

What symbolism, and a wonderful response to Bill's photo prompts!

I liked going through your poem, especially the reference to the final box.

Hmm--Time to take care of our boxes, good karma in one, and bad karma in another. And make sure, to fill the former one more and more.

Thank you for sharing this. Have a great weekend.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on December 11, 2020:

Thank you, Lora. I have so many empty boxes of all shapes and sizes stored under the house (you just don't know when you may need them.) And the more I thought about it I realised just how many things we have are in fact boxes. My wife has so many plastic boxes of fabric, yarn and craft supplies. I have boxes and boxes of books that won't fit on the shelves. Glad you enjoyed this.

Lora Hollings on December 11, 2020:

A wonderful poem about boxes! You had me smiling all the way and thinking how true this poem is. I have boxes on top of boxes in my garage and in my closet too. Many are filled with photos and old dolls that I just can’t seem to part with. Quite a fitting end to your poem, John. Excellent job with this challenge. I really enjoyed it.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on December 11, 2020:

I find it is always satisfying to be able to achieve that surprise ending, Flourish. Thank you for reading.

FlourishAnyway from USA on December 11, 2020:

I liked how you built up to that final box. Didn’t see that one coming!

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on December 11, 2020:

I am happy this poem gave you a laugh, Pamela. It was met to be a bit ”tongue in cheek” while being symbolic of some of life’s foibles. Life is a box.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on December 11, 2020:

Shauna, I had a feeling that may have been the reason for my failed attempt to download the photos because I couldn’t do it on my laptop or iPad. It sure will put a dampener, on future photo challenges. Your suggestion for Bill to email them to interested parties may work, however, if he is willing. Thank you for reading my friend.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on December 11, 2020:

Ann, as I was writing I just kept thinking of more and more boxes. As I reply to your comment even more are coming to mind. I find a little tongue in cheek humour is welcome and needed at the present time. Glad this brought a smile.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on December 11, 2020:

Linda, you sure touched on some other important boxes there, those inside ourselves where we hide thoseminner demons. Thank you for adding that in your comment. I am glad you found this poem interesting.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on December 11, 2020:

Hello Rosina, thanks for reading and commenting. Yes, boxes are in every stage of life. Make the most of them. Stay safe.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on December 11, 2020:

Bill, I guess it is inevitable that some people will see things a similar way but what is it that causes that is beyond me. It is like when two or more write an article, poem, or story on a similar but random theme at virtually the same time. There has to be something behind that.

I have to agree with the ”great minds” statement though haha. That is as good an explanation as any. Thank you for the positive comment, your friendship, and the prompt.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on December 11, 2020:

You are so right, Louise. Boxes sure do come in handy. In fact, I can’t imagine life without them.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on December 11, 2020:

Hi Peggy, youmdon’I realise just how many boxes there are in your life until you actually sit down and think about it. Take care.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on December 11, 2020:

Thanks for the tops on how to save the photos manatita. I tried those steps but none seemed to work for me unfortunately. I have never had that problem before.

I am glad you enjoyed my take on Bill’s Challenge though. It was a good one to get me thinking. Much appreciated.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on December 11, 2020:

Thank you, Umesh. Much appreciated.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on December 11, 2020:

I laughed while reading your wonderful poem. I think you met Bill's challenge quite well. This really is one way to look at our lives.

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on December 11, 2020:

Excellent response to Bill's challenge, John!

I was afraid we might not be able to download or save photos once the articles in which they appear move to the niche sites or Discover. That puts a real damper on Bill's photo prompt challenges. Perhaps we can ask him to email them to us when we're ready to answer his challenges.

Ann Carr from SW England on December 11, 2020:

Love the humour here, John! I hadn't thought about all those boxes but of course they're all true, right to the end!

Well done! Great response to Bill's challenge.

Ann

Linda Lum from Washington State, USA on December 11, 2020:

John, what an interesting twist on boxes—the boxes in our lives. Some literal and some are the places inside ourselves where we hide our deepest fears and darkest demons.

Rosina S Khan on December 11, 2020:

We are in boxes at every stage in our life. That's a nice theme to follow. We even use them to store things. A great approach and response to Bill's challenge. Thanks for the terrific share, John.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on December 11, 2020:

For whatever reason, you went in the direction I thought of when I added the boxes picture. Great minds travel the same road, my friend, and I'm proud to travel yours. Well done! Loved the symbolism and barely-veiled statements about modern life. Thanks so much for another excellent poem.

Louise Powles from Norfolk, England on December 11, 2020:

There's boxes everywhere! Boxes come in very handy lol. I keep all sorts of things in them.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on December 11, 2020:

Your response to Bill's challenge is excellent! From the boxes in which we live, drive, and even our final resting place...you have given boxes a whole new meaning.

manatita44 from london on December 11, 2020:

A beautiful Take on Bill's Challenge! It reminded me of my own poetic effort. We all have our boxes in a way, like Donald's fence. Haha. Or China's wall, in a metaphorical way, of course. You've done a wonderful Job. Unmanned drones indeed! Makes the Ordainer take note, I suppose.

Photo 2 and 3 are easy to do. Right-click and chose 'save picture/image as.' save in download, so you can find it, or desktop, if you like. Photo 1 has to be changed into a JPEG or something similar. It is a web file. (For the benefit of others) Peace.

Umesh Chandra Bhatt from Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, India on December 11, 2020:

Well composed.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on December 11, 2020:

Thank you very much, JC.

JC Scull from Gainesville, Florida on December 11, 2020:

Excellent!!

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