Where your treasure is

In a child’s treasure box you’ll find
a leaf, flower, or petal
once lovely,
chosen for its fragrance or
the promise of colour
broadening the senses
like a never-tasted flavour;

A rock, stone, or pebble
of indeterminate origin,
chosen for its shape,
heft, and texture, the left-overs
of creation’s crashing asteroids
imagined to contain
the footprint of a dinosaur or fern,
or worn smooth by water
into the irregular form of a heart;

A piece of beach glass,
imagined to be a jewel;

The shell of a long-dead
animal of land or river,
polished clean by grit and seagulls,
because mortality has its own beauty;

The words of a story,
bible verse, or limerick
faithfully copied 
and mostly rightly spelled;

A marble, bead, or bouncy ball
snuck away from the common collection
not to be played with except surreptitiously,
an early experiment in sequestration
deemed a certain, if lonely, success;

Some fur, the collar, or faded photo
of the much-loved pet now
buried beneath the flagstones
of the new back patio;

A single wrapped sweet,
for emergencies.

In the child’s treasure box
you will find
the decadent, sticky scent of optimism,
dust of a thousand lives unlived,
a heart of flesh, calcifying,
hope adrift on an ocean of memories
whose swell and valleys may
at any moment inundate.

This upcoming Sunday’s Gospel reading includes Jesus’ aphorism: “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Luke 12:34 and parallels). Last week, looking for something I have already forgotten, I found at the back of my bedside drawer the name tag of my grandmother’s dog, which I have apparently and largely unknowingly kept for some forty years; hence this poem.

About Rosalind C Hughes

Rosalind C Hughes is a priest and author living near the shores of Lake Erie. After growing up in England and Wales, and living briefly in Singapore, she is now settled in Ohio. She serves an Episcopal church just outside Cleveland. Rosalind is the author of A Family Like Mine: Biblical Stories of Love, Loss, and Longing , and Whom Shall I Fear? Urgent Questions for Christians in an Age of Violence, both from Upper Room Books. She loves the lake, misses the ocean, and is finally coming to terms with snow.
This entry was posted in lectionary reflection, poetry, prayer, sermon preparation, spiritual autobiography and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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