The Christmas Gift

For the girl who has everything!
he says.
She looks at him, frowns,
unties the frayed festive ribbon
and peels away crinkled brown paper.
The box is old, hardly used,
an heirloom, perhaps;
inside, two silver napkin rings
a little tarnished,
nestling in blue satin.
But I don’t have everything;
I don’t have anything.
You have a warm heart, he says.
He rolls up layers of paper towels,
slots them deftly through the rings;
she opens a can of soup.


This poem was written as the result of a prompt
in the writing group I attend weekly.
The prompt was the box in the photograph below






56 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Norma (Through My Eyes)
    Dec 14, 2014 @ 12:54:47

    Very nicely written Christine! Wonderfully done πŸ™‚


  2. Ina
    Dec 14, 2014 @ 13:23:07

    Lovely poem Christine! ❀ xxx


  3. Cynthia Jobin
    Dec 14, 2014 @ 13:57:42

    This reminds me of that story “The Gift of the Magi”….only yours is much more mysterious, Christine…I can really see this couple, probably young, and poor, and I’m wondering what they’ll talk about next, over soup and paper napkins….you’ve accomplished much in few words…nice work!


    • journeyintopoetry
      Dec 14, 2014 @ 14:06:31

      Thank you Cynthia. When i first saw the box I was convinced I would have a mental block and I did for a few days, then this appeared, a bit of a departure from my usual writing. And I too am wondering about what this couple will say next. I think they are young too 😊.I cant usually make characters up so I was a little bit pleased how this turned out!


  4. katepoet
    Dec 14, 2014 @ 14:26:58

    A poem

    Silver Memories

    Silver memories:
    the silver teapot Paul Revere hammered out,
    silver server used only at Thanksgiving,
    silver napkin rings from Gran’s wedding.

    They had all been sold,
    the cost of a roof overhead,
    an education for the kids,
    the power staying on.

    Each time a crisis came
    silver paid the cost.
    The memories she still held onto,
    a history of family
    cherished over years.

    Β© Kit Minden


  5. leamuse
    Dec 14, 2014 @ 16:29:49

    Lovely Christine! Refreshing and commercialism be damned!


  6. lscotthoughts
    Dec 14, 2014 @ 16:46:55

    Beautiful and humbling and wonderfully written to the prompt, Chris! Also a great reminder to be thankful for the simple things in life…β™₯ hugs


    • journeyintopoetry
      Dec 14, 2014 @ 17:21:56

      Thank you Lauren. Im starting to get used to prompts now but they always take their time and either come or dont! This one came to me when it was almost time for the next week’s class, and when I wasn’t even thinking about it! 😊❀️ Xx


      • lscotthoughts
        Dec 14, 2014 @ 19:49:58

        I admire that you can write to prompt. I can’t write on command. It comes to me when it comes to me. πŸ™‚ Hope you’re having a lovely day. Off to the movies with hubby. β™₯ πŸ™‚

    • journeyintopoetry
      Dec 14, 2014 @ 20:06:40

      I dont manage it every week but Im getting there. Enjoy rhe movies! 😊❀️❀️ Xx


  7. Minuscule Moments
    Dec 14, 2014 @ 19:49:15

    Christine a good and timely message. It must be very inspiring to have a group of creatives to share your wonderful poetry with.


    • journeyintopoetry
      Dec 14, 2014 @ 20:04:11

      Yes Kath it’s just the highlight of my week and has helped my writing develop so much. Im even confident enough you to read it in front of the class now and at first I was terrified! 😊. I will have been going a year in January and it’s the best hing I did last year when wondering how I could become a bit more active in life in the light of decreased mobility. 😊


  8. Polly
    Dec 15, 2014 @ 09:20:08

    Beautifully poignant, Christine, and so fitting for this time of year.

    Ace! You’re writing to a prompt and it’s a success πŸ™‚


  9. Peter Wells aka Countingducks
    Dec 15, 2014 @ 10:52:39

    Very well written naturally, but what grips the attention and admiration is the wealth of knowledge and observation behind the lines. “All of life is there” as some wise man said, and that is why I loved this poem


  10. Libby
    Dec 15, 2014 @ 16:06:56

    Great peom Chtistine. Very thought provoking.


  11. bardessdmdenton
    Dec 15, 2014 @ 18:44:37

    Really enjoyed this, Christine, how simply and briefly it creates characters and tells a story, leaving so much untold but not unimagined. And the ‘ending’ is wonderful:
    “He rolls up layers of paper towels,
    slots them deftly through the rings;
    she opens a can of soup.”
    Shows your mastery – how you took something quite elegant and embraced it in the ‘ordinary’.

    I think as writers we are almost always writing from prompts … whatever stirs us to start writing something. Mostly they are subtle, unplanned, I think. Now and then they are ‘bolder’ and even designed. XO ❀


    • journeyintopoetry
      Dec 15, 2014 @ 18:58:07

      Thank you very much Diane! And all is fixed now! You are right of course,there is always a prompt however subtle. I hadnt really thought of it like that. It is the bold and designed ones that I struggle with! 😊 xxx ❀️


  12. Rob McShane
    Dec 16, 2014 @ 07:18:56

    You really do have the skill of taking something different and creative, dropping it into ‘ordinary’ thus making it quite extraordinary! Love it! πŸ™‚


  13. harulawordsthatserve
    Dec 16, 2014 @ 08:33:17

    A beautiful poem Christine, really touching and somehow very current. It’s amazing how much of a story and image can be created in so few words – you’ve shown the power of poetry with this one. Hugs, H xxx


  14. Jane Thorne
    Dec 16, 2014 @ 13:31:16

    I love your take on this Chris, you always manage to convey so much in a few words. It’s talent my lovely friend, a rare talent you have. ❀ xxxXxxx


  15. journeyintopoetry
    Dec 16, 2014 @ 14:47:34

    Thank you Jane! Three cheers for my writing group! It keeps me going. Oh by the way, mince pies on hold until tomorrow, I did too much this morning and now Im pooped! ❀️ Xxx


  16. Betty Hayes Albright
    Dec 17, 2014 @ 22:03:17

    Christine, what a great ending! Paper towels and a can of soup! Very touching – we DO have everything, when there’s love – and imagination. Nicely done, as always.
    (Thanks for your last email – am planning to write back soon. πŸ™‚ )


    • journeyintopoetry
      Dec 18, 2014 @ 12:11:59

      Thank you very much Betty! I do find writing ‘on demand’ quite difficult, but it is very good for me and keeps me in the ‘zone’ so to speak. And as our tutor says, the prompts are simply there to trigger thoughts and if we write something completely different and away from the subject of the prompt then that’s fine too. The writing group has saved my sanity (what little I have! 😊) since the MS diagnosis and it is the best thing I have done since, because as well as keeping the muse alive Ii have met new friends and we have lotsvof fun too.

      No rush with the email reply! I know how time gets so easily consumed. 😊

      Love and hugs xxx


  17. kathryningrid
    Dec 18, 2014 @ 19:30:21

    It really reminds me of the sweet O. Henry story The Gift of the Magi. ( It’s like getting a holiday hug via a poetic story. Lovely!


  18. Wendy L. Macdonald
    Dec 22, 2014 @ 02:48:30

    Christine, you made such a touching post with this writing prompt. I’ve only recently realized how fun they can be.

    Blessings ~ Wendy ❀


    • journeyintopoetry
      Dec 22, 2014 @ 09:47:39

      Thank you Wendy! Im no good at all responding to a prompt immediately. Some members in the group are busy writing away as soon as the prompt is given. But I just sit there with absolutely norhing! My tutor just looks at me, smiles and says “it’ll come, just email it to me when it does”. And often about half way through he week my idea arrives and James, our tutor gets his email! πŸ˜„ x


  19. Thomas Davis
    Dec 24, 2014 @ 21:59:25

    Christine, I don’t always like poems written to a prompt. I am so old fashioned, I suppose, I still believe in the Wordsworth’s old statement:
    “For all good poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings: and though this be true, Poems to which any value can be attached were never produced on any variety of subjects but by a man who, being possessed of more than usual organic sensibility, had also thought long and deeply.”
    and although I know several good poets who use prompts, it has always seemed to me to be a short cut that is not conducive to spontaneity and thoughts that have been arrived at “long and deeply.”
    Still, this poem absolutely delighted me. It has the plain spoken language that Wordsworth aspired to in his work, and its construction is such that it seems the product of long and deep thought, uncovering the truth of a relationship that strips away the pretensions so deeply ingrained in modern man with his endless celebration of greed and the fruits of greed and arrives at a deeper meaning buried, hopefully, in all of our hearts.
    I really enjoyed reading this.


    • journeyintopoetry
      Dec 28, 2014 @ 14:40:30

      Thank you Tom. As I think I mentioned above I find wriring to prompts difficult, but it is part of what goes on in the writing group I attend and thoroughly enjoy. So I do give the prompts a go. This one, however, I ‘threw away’ immediately and gave it no more thought. And then out of the blue, after about six days, believing I had well and truly got rid of it, this poem appeared after hearing about how some less fortunate people than myself would be spending Christmas. Strange really but there it is! πŸ˜„


  20. Cynthia Jobin
    Dec 25, 2014 @ 14:04:31

    Just want to insert my two cents here, because I love what Thomas has said about prompts. And your sense of restriction with prompts, Christine, is probably shared by a lot of us who are dedicated poets. To me a prompt is a straight-jacket; it kills my openness to the writing process…it’s somebody else’s idea, and not inspired. Worst of all, it’s a gimmick and a crutch. How’s them for fightin’ words this Christmas morning! πŸ™‚


    • journeyintopoetry
      Dec 28, 2014 @ 14:52:41

      I love your fightin’ words Cynthia! Ive only just seen them though. I was rather distracted on Christmas morning with an array of toys to play with, which suited me just fine πŸ˜„. ‘A straight jacket’ describes perfectly how I feel when given a prompt. However as I said to Tom above, this poem appeared about six days after I had supposedly well and truly ditched the prompt. 😊. I am still very uncomfortable with them though. But I will keep having a go; I just love the writing group, it’s saved my sanity since my diagnosiscand Ive made new friends too. πŸ˜„


  21. Cynthia Jobin
    Dec 28, 2014 @ 18:27:12

    Having toys to play with on Christmas morning probably keeps you from becoming as curmudgeonly as I…. πŸ™‚


  22. beckarooney
    Jan 18, 2015 @ 18:40:27

    I love how naturally you interpreted the prompt, I am useless at writing like that! Seamlessly and beautifully written Christine πŸ™‚ xx


  23. SuzyHazelwood
    Jan 19, 2015 @ 01:41:38

    I see you have 42 Facebook like for this one!!! You should write more fiction, this is excellent! πŸ™‚ I don’t have problems with characters or fiction, but I don’t usually like prompts. I like to be able to decide what I’m going to write, it encourages more creativity. I did save a couple of websites I found recently that were full of writers prompts. I found that more appealing, as I had a great big list to choose from. I’m sure if you added a bit more to this it could even make a good mini script for anyone who likes making short films. Although having said that, it has a powerful message just as it is, and I love that. You’ll have to do some more of those prompts! πŸ™‚


    • journeyintopoetry
      Jan 19, 2015 @ 12:51:53

      Thank you Suzy! I do find prompts difficult but having said that, the writing group, where all my prompts come from, has given and still gives me so much inspiration. I was going to leave this one and hold my hand up to say I couldn’t do the “homework” that week, and than suddenly, half way through the week, this appeared when I wasn’t consciously thinking about it! I do struggle with prose though, all my writing just appears as poetry! This week’s prompt is a piece of prose but I think, after binning several drafts, out tutor will be receive a poem from me!! πŸ˜„ xx


      • SuzyHazelwood
        Jan 19, 2015 @ 14:21:15

        It’s always best to do what you’re good at, if something is uncomfortable, it’s best avoided. I wouldn’t be any good at writing sonnets. I sometimes like to read them, but writing them – noooo!!

        You could try just writing it as a poem as you usually would and then make another copy of it and gradually fill in more writing. I’ve done that with poems before, turning what was initially a poem into a prose short story. The one I did about September and school was originally a poem and I thought it would be better as a story, so worked on it for a while, adding a bit at a time. You never know, in a year or two, prose might no longer be a problem for you – fingers crossed! πŸ™‚ xx

    • journeyintopoetry
      Jan 19, 2015 @ 14:32:11

      I’e tried this a few times Suzy and although I’ve managed it I have never felt happy with the result. But who knows, in time… 😊 x


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