porch pic 2
Twenty-Eight Boxes
by Virginia Lowe

John had already left
our rural city
for his new job in Melbourne.
I waited with the toddler
and my parents
in the empty house.
Everything packed
and ready to go
Food, nappies
Nothing was left

A moving van
pulls up outside
Driven five hundred miles
from Melbourne
and overnighted
somewhere I presume
Right on time, but so small

Two jolly giants bounced in
ready to begin
Their faces dropped
as they surveyed
our possessions
They could clearly see
that as we feared
the furniture, the crockery
clothing and ornaments
just would not fit

Turned away shaking their heads
We knew no one could have
That many books!
But John, a librarian, had
just moved his library
to a new building
he knew exactly
and had filled it out
on the form

Two double beds
One sofa, one dining table
one cot, one washing machine
So it went on
And our two book collections
together made up
only twenty-eight boxfuls

they set off back to Melbourne
to return two days later
While we set to unpacking
the bedding, the food
the nappies
To survive living
another two days
in a packed up house.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: The toddler and her parents on the veranda of the house we were moving from.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR:  When I was a child, we moved house every two years. I have lived in the present house for 42 years. We hope never to have to move, but in the first four years of our marriage we moved four times – moving here to Melbourne was the fifth and last. And who knows how many books we own now? Not only no more bookshelves, but no walls to put them on, either! It must be time to cull!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Virginia Lowe has been writing poetry for about 50 years. She has a PhD in children’s literature and her thesis has been published as a book Stories, Pictures and Reality: Two Children Tell (Routledge 1996). For 20 years she has run the manuscript assessment agency Create a Kids’ Book. She lives in Melbourne, Australia, with her husband, adult grandson, two Devon Rex cats, and seven Isa Brown hens.

AUTHOR PHOTO:  The author today with a wild friend.