Boxes come in many forms.
Some are thin and some are fat,
Some are round and others square,
And some even have steering wheels.
Still others are of a subtler sort.
If I say I’m bad at sports
Well, there’s a box that I just made and sat right down in.
Or if I were to insist that you do it this way
Or not that way
Or not at all
Well, now I’ve made a box for you and stuck you in it.
So try not to be overzealous in your box-making.
It would be like if you sat down to write a poem, and I told you not to use any words beginning with vowels.
And you had once been criticized by your fifth-grade teacher for writing a run-on sentence, so you decided you’d better play it safe and keep to really short ones.
And I told you you’d better not use any long words either.
Just to be safe.
Well, pretty soon there’d be only one word left to write:
…but that’s hardly to say that all boxes are bad.
The canvas of O’ Keefe, the sonnet of Shakespeare, the symphony of Schubert: these are royal boxes, fit for a queen, as she watches life play out, discerning details that many might miss.
The right box can also keep us safe and comfortable, as many a cutely curled kitty can testify.
So my advice would simply be that whatever cube you encase yourself in, take note of where you’ve placed the walls.
And leave yourself a door — two, in case of fire.
Or at least give yourself a window.
At any rate, that is how I would construct my box.
But you don’t have to do it that way, if you find it too constricting.
This poem was originally published in The Musings of Marc Evans