Thursday, 20 May 2010

The Thursday Poem

Young Woman Reading by a Window by Delphin Enjolras

The Button Box

The shades are drawn, the lamps are lit
Across the walls vague shadows flit.
And Mother, smiling, gently rocks
And dreams above her button box.

The button box, the button box,
With souvenirs of vanished frocks
And party gowns of yesteryear,
Old fashioned now, but once how dear.

These disks of metal, bone and shell
Have each a little tale to tell;
And that which keeps the varied hoard -
The battered box - so richly stored.
To her who loves remembrance, is
A treasury of memories.

That giant button had its day
On Father's ulster, rough and gray -
A shield of horn that Baby John
So loved to try his teeth upon;
While this, that might have served an elf,
Belonged to Baby John himself.
That pearly whiteness held in place
Some part of Edith's bridal lace;
And this appeared on nothing less
Than Mary's graduation dress.

These sparkling bits of glass recall
A Christmas feast, a New Year's ball;
And who that saw her could forget
When grandma wore these rounds of jet.

And, ho, what memories of pride,
Of dread, of hope and joy abide
In this bronze button beloved the best
Whereon the eagle seal is pressed,
That gleamed through flame and battle storm
Upon a khaki uniform!

The button box of long ago!
Its true delights the children know
Who thread its many coloured gems
For necklaces and diadems;
Or in their vivid play behold,
A pirate chest of pearls and gold!
And this worn coffer they who will
May find a fairy casket still,
When Memory her stores unlocks
And pours them from her button box.

Arthur Guiterman
(20th November 1871 - 11th January 1943)

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