Sometimes life just ups and surprises you. I never know what will bring me poetic inspiration. When it comes, it is always welcome. These are rare moments you long for all your life. You can’t buy them. If you search for them, the result will be contrived. It has to come to you as in a vision. This may seem a bit melodramatic but it happened like this. I made a recent trip to a secondhand store I often frequent. I was looking for a replacement part I expected to find when I stumbled upon this odd long mesh-lined wooden box. It had a former life to be sure and I wanted to know what. It looked sad and forlorn as if it had been searching for something that took a long time to find. What was its history? I had to know.
A gold sluice was what I was staring at so intently. I had never seen one before and it caught my wandering eye. I had to ask the owner. He hadn’t seen one either until the seller came in to tell its story. It could be used as a planter or antique container of sorts, he said. I hope you will find it a good home. I can’t keep it because it has sad memories. It was used by a long-lost love maybe a century ago. He knew because the relic had been in his family for many generations. Each one had the goal of passing on the story of the distant relative, with the hope of that relative Finding a Fortune. This is the reason he identified with it. He was getting older and had no children to whom to bequeath the object. This made him dejected.
I listened with open ears and had the inspiration to write a simple, short poem about it and share it on Facebook. It took a couple of minutes only. I wanted to capture a mood or spirit and not go into details. I really didn’t know them or care to invent too much. Imagine a thrift store find becoming verse. Here is what I wrote. I gave it to the storekeeper to pass on to the sluice seller. I got a call a week later from him. He said he had a note. The note thanked me and said it was amazing that I could relate to another family’s history. It brought the device alive once again and he said it could not have found a better purchaser. I attached the note to the printed poem and stored it in a memory box I keep for special things. Someday I will enjoy revisiting it again.
Shiny metal attacks my eye
With deep love and longing
A golden dream makes me cry
And initiates prolonging.
When will the sluice yield its riches?
Will I find a resource of ditches?
Pick and shovel tight in hand
Lead me directing to the land
Searching with full and open heart
The time has come never to depart.