Photo: Shutterbox - Public Domain

Photo: Shutterbox – Public Domain

Hey Pandora! What’s in the box? Good or bad, there’s something in there dying to come out. It could be a blessing. It might be a curse. The photo itself may inspire a totally different thought. Use your ekphrastic abilities to let us know. What’s in the box?



Out of fear
(or worse  —  indifference)
she waited too long
to unlock the trunk she daily
avoided. Tripped over. Pretended wasn’t there.

Summoning the courage, she unlocked it.
Discovered a long-lost page.
Dulled.  Faded. Not easily read.
Less easily understood.

For times had changed,
and, therefore,
the truths that had shaped them.


As she tried to examine
and understand,
she began to question


Perhaps wrong paths had been taken.
Destructive habits had formed.

Perhaps what was true, then,
was no less true, now.

Perhaps times change,
but truths remain.

Perhaps it was up to her
to unlock



© Marie Elena Good, 2018





No one knows.
And the best-kept secret remains as such.
How much is it worth to know things
that your heart can confirm,
but you cannot communicate,
this declaration of fact lies hidden.
Distance spanned and water
under the bridge between then and now.
How do you live a life with this burden?
They couldn’t know; you gave no indications,
your stagnation and debilitating fear
brought you here with nary a lead.
But indeed, you have known.
You will carry it until you’ll have grown
feeble and cold, just an infarction from
the chill’s permanence; it hides in residence.
Do you declare to the world and hope the rooftops
can handle your exuberance,
your happy dance long buried?
This fact prompts you to wonder
that if under this guise you can reprise
what your heart conceals, the real feel of its mystery,
your history until now untold and you let the story unfold.
Touching secrets with probing fingers,
the memory lingers. You held the best vantage point
in the room to see all before you,
a chance at a glance always revealed.
Though you were in close proximity,
you chose to let fear dictate and seal your fate.
Never a clue did you expose. You chose to fade,
finding comfort in your invisibility. Indignantly,
you held your nerve and your secret this long.
It can’t be wrong to release your burden and breathe again.
No one knows.
You wonder if your existence evaded detection then.
You are certain that it does now.
Unseen for all these years, no one could know.
Your memories melt flowing onto a page
as you engage your feelings.
Poems written of your smitten past,
and at last you come clean.
It’s not as if these poems will ever be seen.

© Walter J Wojtanik – 2018


92 thoughts on “PROMPT #216 – PANDORA’S BOX

  1. “It is by going down into the abyss that we recover the treasures of life. Where you stumble, there lies your treasure.” ~ Joseph Campbell


    Like a delicate seashell
    tossed by a horrific storm
    high above the tide line,
    she waits alone.
    Strength and tenacity,
    hold her together.
    On the outside, she is worn –
    cracks of age belie the
    beauty of her heart.


    He holds her like
    a priceless treasure
    found after years of being buried
    by time and neglect.
    In his eyes, she is the rarest of her kind –
    creative, wise and loving.
    The years of waiting – over –
    they polish their love, daily.

    © 2018 Linda M. Rhinehart Neas

  2. Walt: I’ve read your poem several times. Each time, it totally wows me, and I see something a bit different in it than the previous reading. “How much is it worth to know things that your heart can confirm, but you cannot communicate…” WOW. Such depth. So thankful for your prolific, powerful poetry sense. Always. So humbled to be a part of this with you, here.

  3. Why, Walt, when I read your poem was there a pirate’s voice doing the reading in my head. Interesting. Nevertheless, a compelling piece of wordmanship. Arrr!

  4. Early Riser

    of mornings
    have started the same
    where you sleep warm
    and yet
    I rise
    the quiet day
    nudging me
    with gentle thoughts
    forcefully pulling
    my covers off
    and yet
    I don’t feel
    like rhyming today
    where rules
    must count
    and lines
    be broken
    so the naked
    must spill
    or spray
    or drip
    and dry
    until my secret’s
    and the mist
    of it
    forms in the steam
    and yet again
    I trace
    my heart
    on the mirror
    while in your dreams
    you must decide
    if you’ll wake
    in time
    to see.

  5. Pandora’s Box can be many thing to many people.
    Or perhaps it’s not a box at all.

    The Old Me

    Safely locked away
    Never more to be seen
    Nor tempted by
    My previous life
    The old me
    Lay waiting for
    An opportunity
    To pound the walls
    And get my attention
    That I might open the door
    And set them free once more

    Old habits
    Old vices
    Old pranks pounding loud
    Dirty jokes
    Dirty tricks
    Dirty thoughts; I’m not proud

    They call to me daily
    They whisper and scream
    Both in my waking hours
    And again in my dreams
    They know I have changed
    Still they tempt and taunt me
    But the door will stay locked
    And I have the only key

    Why don’t I throw away the key?
    I’ve tried, but it is part of me
    God, give me the strength to resist
    These old sins that still persist

    The old me is gone
    But temptations live on
    Just behind that locked door
    The old me, nevermore

    © 2018 Earl Parsons

  6. The Box

    The box, so beautiful and very old
    Ornately decorated in hammered gold
    Wood stained dark with pronounced grain
    Aged through years of wind and rain
    What treasures might lie inside this chest?
    I dare not venture nor even suggest

    The box, neither large nor heavy at all
    What treasure could fit in something this small?
    Maybe a map that leads to sunken treasure
    Or deeds or titles to riches and pleasure
    What riches might lie inside this chest?
    So small and so light, I dare not guess

    The box; could it be another Pandora?
    If so, wouldn’t I feel some devilish aura?
    Do I dare take the chance of looking inside?
    What if its contents attacked and I died?
    What evil might lie inside of this box?
    Should I bind it shut with chains and locks?

    The box lies unopened just as it was found
    With new chains and lock, it’s securely bound
    No treasure is worth the risk that it posed
    Even though the risk may be mentally imposed
    Whatever might lie inside of this chest
    Is better left alone; that’s what I suggest.

    © 2018 Earl Parsons

  7. Pingback: LOCKED | pictured words

  8. Twenty degrees cooler than yesterday. Yawn. I love it.

    Dora Explains Her Treasure Map Room

    Closed for long enough, boxes acquire
    a shine not rising from their design
    or materials, not from lines of light-reflecting

    gold or glowing radium. What gives
    a chained and padlocked coffer, or amorphous
    brown and tagless Christmas present allure

    is the crime that takes a black cat’s nine lives.
    Curiosity, stoked, is a steam engine.
    Eyes, mind, feet, and fingers—are the train.

    I have been known to feign disinterest, look
    into open drawers, more open faces,
    pretending a distain for mystery;

    but turn away, walk away as I will:

    the unknown remains afoot. Irritating
    sliver, unidentifiable ping
    in the night. Worse than the root of evil.

  9. Are You Tempted?

    This poem is a box
    of weathered wood
    and rusted locks.

    Scares you, dares, you
    to open it up–contents
    dormant for years.

    This poem exploits
    your fear. It knows
    those creepy, crawly

    tingly objects that turn
    your limbs to liquid,
    your stomach to squash.

    If you are not ready
    to face your demons,
    this poem begs you–
    Do Not Open.

  10. Stuff

    Not really hidden, available
    for all who wish to see,
    the things I need the least,
    confronting me, taunting,
    still visible,
    even locked behind wood.
    The poems never shown,
    tucked away for some future edit,
    the painted and penciled pictures,
    not suitable for public display.
    (or comment)
    I must have thought I’d
    return to them someday,
    but age flattens a man,
    life shifts his priorities.
    How things were,
    even how they will be,
    do not matter.
    There’s only how
    things are now.
    Mostly I write and paint
    to find out
    what I’m thinking,
    to check my mood,
    (the current one)
    to tell the truth,
    which does indeed set me free,
    but not until it sometimes
    pisses me off.
    I have a storage unit,
    (costs a bundle)
    monthly bills higher than
    the value of the stuff inside,
    including that cedar chest
    which holds all the scribblings,
    the dabblings.
    Who’s to judge, really?
    (not me)
    Someone besides me will
    throw all my stuff away,
    perhaps a semi-star of
    some sort of reality tv show.
    They’ll open that chest,
    maybe think about the contents,
    or maybe they’ll just
    bitch and groan, wonder why
    anyone would keep such junk.
    One man’s treasure…
    (oh, you know)

    • Daniel, I’m sorry that your poem was sent to our “pending” folder for approval. I’m not sure why, as we have it set to accept poems and comments after first approval. We shouldn’t have to approve posts from any given site more than once. Huh…

      But anyway, I’m glad we found it! This one is a thinker. This one is a real-life, real-thoughts, real- well, REAL. What especially grabs me is

      “I have a storage unit,
      (costs a bundle)
      monthly bills higher than
      the value of the stuff inside,
      including that cedar chest
      which holds all the scribblings,
      the dabblings.
      Who’s to judge, really?
      (not me)”


      Love it.

      • Thanks. I kept it on my blog because I didn’t want ‘provocative’ on here. Didn’t seem appropriate. This is a bit more risqué than my usual waltz through flowers and nature and … stuff.

        • It’s entirely possible that we could host very young souls on this site. We’ve actually had two in the past, that I can think of. So yes, very thoughtful of you, Misk. We are pretty accepting of most, though. I can’t think of even one time we had to remove anything from here. 😉

  11. Box of memories broken open
    Spilled shattered bits of hell
    Stories so tattered, so profane
    I never meant to tell.

    Broken bits and secrets entrusted
    to the God who knows and sees,
    who poured out grace and set me free,
    redeemed worst of memories.

    And all that in the box was hidden
    finally drawn into the light
    though horrific and forbidden
    were, by grace, somehow made right.

  12. Mind of a Dog

    The eyes,
    the begging eyes,
    always, always watching mine,
    waiting for a key to turn
    to unlock her wanting.

    The pleas,
    the gentle whines,
    sounding on my human ears,
    though I can’t hear what she can hear,
    a squirrel’s scurry up an outside tree.

    The sad-eyed dread,
    the nagging fear
    I might decline,
    I might demand
    she lay back down
    ignoring what she knows is true.

    The wag,
    the honest pleading wag
    to let her joy be mine,
    begging my confession that
    I truly count
    her happiness my own.

    The yes,
    the glad relenting yes,
    appears in the air between us
    like a poem’s unexpected line.
    I grab the leash,
    go to the door.

    I don’t know, ever,
    who really turns the key.

    © Damon Dean, 2018

  13. Old trunk
    Long forgotten
    Left behind by one who
    Set aside for another day
    Then left childhood for more substantial games
    A treasure map awaits inside
    For a child to venture
    Yesterday’s paths

    Darlene Franklin

  14. Walt, Marie, is there a place I can contact you off the website? I wrote a poem today from my own prompts that I would appreciate input on. Nothing to do with this prompt, however.

  15. And here’s more of a Pandora’s box poem:

    Word Box

    Pandora’s box opened and words escaped
    Spreading feelings in their wake
    Dulling my ears by all I did hear
    Out my mouth beauty, hope, lust cascaded

    But tendrils of hope whisper in the air
    Sweeping up the mountain stairs
    Sealing my shredded heart so dear
    Words reaching rarifed air

    The word box opened and I almost died
    Thet weighed on my soul, leaving me blind
    Look to the prism as His light nears
    The word and all words in my abide

    Darlene Franklin

  16. The Box

    The Lord held out a large, old, dusty box.
    I looked at it and wondered, “What’s inside?”
    He smiled and gave me keys for all the locks.
    “So open it,” He said, his smile was wide.

    What if I wasn’t smart enough, if tried?
    Or could it injure me along the way?
    Perhaps it would strip me of any pride.
    I stood there, still not knowing what to say.

    A guessing game is what I’d like to play,
    or see the future instantly and clear.
    Should I dare open up the box that day?
    If so, how would I conquer every fear?

    I didn’t have to know what was in store.
    Just had to know and trust my Savior more.

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