My box

How does Clarke make growing old seem so moving?

The aforementioned poem is written by the much-fêted poet, Gillian Clark. The poem talks about the gift that Gillian Clark was given by her lover, and how their bond strengthened as they grew older. Thus, growing older is made to seem much more moving with the usage of repetitions, Polysyndetons, imageries metaphors.


The poem is started of with the repetition of the person pronoun, “My” and “Me” as the poet cherishes the gift of the box that is given by her lover. The repetition also suggests that the Clarks claims the box to be her personal possession, and makes it clear to the readers about her closeness with the box. It can be believed that, even though the gift is as simple a box, it is treated with a much higher value. The poet treasures it and probably gives the golden ’brass’ box as much importance as a box made simply of gold. It suggest that this bond is now cemented and ‘engraved’ strongly. Moreover, the vivid colour imagery speaks of the youthfulness in the relation. And, probably as the love is yet shy and introvert, it is kept under ‘lock’ and ‘key’ as it fastens a ‘heavy’ number of memories from their ‘bright’ and ‘black’ ‘nights’ and ‘days.’ This is suggestive of the fact that the bond grew with time. It was made stronger as an ‘oak’ facing the harsh ‘winter nights,’ and ultimately similar to something as firm as a ‘tree.’ This means, though the bond existed with differences, it had grown into permanency. Thus, as we see developments with time, the ideas of growing up seems stirring and moving.


The poet has also used polysyndetons, metaphors and also passage of time which makes the notion of growing old seeming moving more moving. From the Polysyndeton in the expression, “He…sanded and oiled and planed” it is made clear that the poet wants to appreciates every aspect of the gift, and stresses on the hard work put in by the lover in not only making the box but also making their bond strong. It suggests that the Lover was willing to face any difficulties and troubles for the poet. However, later another expression is captured which depicts the passage of time. “We…sanded, oiled and planed.” The following is almost a replica of the other phrase , but with few a changes. Now, it suggests that both the lover and Clark were a collective team worked in the relationship, and faced all difficulties as a cohesive unit. Ahead, the readers witness the well nurtured love of the relationship, that is expressed using another array of imageries. They ‘built a wall’ ‘planted a garden’ and ‘harvested apples’ and ‘planted’ other trees. All of these depict the liveliness of the relation and words like ‘planted’ ‘harvested’ meticulously throw light on the growth of the things, and here it is off their growing relation. The expression may symbolise their literal meanings of actually building a house with a garden. Or, on the other hand, it may also mean that their duo had now grown into a family with children. And the relation that once was shy was now independent as birds such as ‘jays’ that progressed in their life, with a positive bond of ‘red’ love. This suggests that the bond was now more vast and had cherished so many ‘rare’ memories that they had to be ‘written down’ on ‘books.’ Thus, as we see a new and a more flamboyant phase in their lives, it becomes obvious to deem the escalation of time and age immensely moving.


As we examine the text more we see that all stanza are divided on the bases of different phases of time in their relation. However, these scheme is also coupled with a technique in which all the stanzas are concluded with the same line, “ a golden tree.” Now the readers are able to correlate with this technique as it may envisage that this romantic narrative will always culminate on a joyous and ‘golden’ note. This adds to the point that the relationship will be as strong as it is, always. This notion is also accentuated when we see that Clark discusses about time ‘when we[they] are dead.’ The fact that Clark casually expresses feeling of ‘their’ demise with no grief, one can conclude that the poet has an ever-lasting bond with the Lover that will also prolong till heaven or hell. It suggests that she is willing to ‘leave’ all her ‘lock’[ed] possession( i.e. the houses, children and memories) to be seen in the ‘open’ if it were to always be with the Lover. Thus, the emphasis on ‘we’ makes the point straight that Gillian Clark and her Lover had an deep affections that had grown over the period. Lastly, another theme that the readers can notice is that of development. First, it is of the ‘box’ then of the relationship, then of their family and houses, and finally of ‘everything’ around and lastly of ‘me[herself].’ It suggests that the relationship that grew had made Clark learn numerous things and had changed her personality. Also, that as time ‘slowly’ progresses, their are alterations and changes in life, that all affect the surrounding, but have a major impact on one’s own personal growth and development.


Thus, with repetitions, polysyndetons, imageries and metaphors, the readers are able to peep into the different phases of the life of Gillian Clark relation, as she tries to make growing old seem moving.


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