I was honoured to win Mount Saint Vincent University's Art Prompts Writing contest today. The challenge was to go to the Mount's art gallery and write something inspired by one of the installations. I chose Rubbish, Rubbish. The exhibit was described as “Five young contributing artists riff on the cardboard box as a formal construction or cultural signifier...[an] attempt to transform viewers’ perception of cardboard boxes as merely utilitarian and disposable...[and] push boundaries between art and every day objects.” A few weeks ago I blogged about cardboard boxes as inspiration so I was delighted to stay with this idea and submitted this poem.
On Inspiration and Boxes
Rubbish, rubbish on the floor:
Who's the fairest? I'm not sure.
Perhaps the simple cardboard box,
alone or grouped, layered folded paper blocks.
Look at a box. What do you see?
A container . . . or a possibility,
functional storage for Christmas things,
or a doghouse, puppet theatre, angel wings?
Twenty-seven big boxes, each with four more tucked inside,
like Russian nesting dolls they hide.
Stacked together, how many do you count?
One hundred and thirty-five cubes, or an infinite amount?
Stained by greasy wedges of pizza crusts past,
or jam jar circles, faint imprints from glass.
Boxes reveal their former lives with pride,
boast of their usefulness, the inspiration they provide.
Storage for breakfast cocoa, a solid twelve pounds,
or one teensy puff of air, encased and bound
in containers with lids coloured red, blue or green,
poised to spill from the spout of a Beaver gumball machine.
Go ahead, seize a box, you've nothing to lose,
give it new life, make it your muse.
Discover its secrets, transform it, have fun,
there are plenty more boxes where it came from.