Maggie Sawkins

Further Adventures of The Little Box

(in memory of The Little Box by Vasko Popa)


Dear Mr Popa


Since you are dead I am writing
with news of The Little Box.


When we first met (as a preface to a book
on how to cobble up a poem) it was like
looking into the face of a smile.


In July The Little Box and I attended
an event at The Botanical Gardens.
Though we were placed between lines
from Paradise Lost and The Song of Quoodle,
and the wind made the microphone groan
and the paper shake, you’ll be pleased
to hear we held our own.


After, as we sat back on the grass,
and Naming of Parts boomed through
the speakers, people came up to ask
about The Little Box. I explained
I didn’t know what it meant only that
it made me smile.


Then yesterday this:


after a brainstorm brought nil response
from my session with the mentally ill,
I took out The Little Box and sifted
its emptiness into the silence.


When I looked up your words were resting
like butterflies along their shoulders,
and on each face was a smile.


Sleep tight, Mr Popa,
I’m taking good care of The Little Box.

Maggie Sawkins
“Further Adventures of The Little Box” first appeared in Magma Poetry, vol. 30, 2005.