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Poetry Sunday-Box Full of Darkness


Box Full of Darkness



I open this box again.

Its dark demons still survive there.

The bruises, the slaps, the cuts-

Pain still runs deep in the scars.



You told someone recently you remembered me fondly.

And my snort of derision was a surprise.

Maybe a slap back.

But this ‘box full of darkness’ has risen again.



No longer all neatly wrapped and stored in the attic of my heart,

Where it had burned a hole.

White hot with searing anger,

With anguish and betrayal.



And as I gaze upon this box, I know it is never forgotten.

But it no longer defines me.

Abused, Used, Victim!

No this box I hold, shows me I am a survivor.

I have risen.  Strong of heart, shame resilient.



And while I may feel some residual pain,

And a tear may appear at the corner of my eye,

This box, oh this holy, blessed box is your gift to me.

One you never knew you gave me,

Perhaps the only one you ever gave me.



And so I keep this ‘box full of darkness’

Neatly wrapped in the attic of my heart,

Where now it holds a special place on the altar of my soul.



© Donna Donabella 2016



“Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this, too, was a gift.” ~Mary Oliver


I read this quote some time ago, but could not wrap my brain around it.  How could darkness be a gift?  And then when I was doing some inner work, something happened to bring the quote’s meaning home.


So as the ah-ha moment penetrated, I wrote this poem.  A victim of domestic abuse from decades ago, the poem is based on these painful memories.  And they have not, nor will they ever be forgotten or define me.  I have forgiven, and moved on…..and this beautiful box full of darkness is now not something that holds me down or holds me back.  No, instead it has freed me.



I am joining in with Poets United for their weekly poetry link up, Poetry Pantry, for poets who blog, and with Sanaa@A Dash of Sunny for her Prompt Nights every Friday.  This week’s theme is “Passion makes the world go round”.  Although this is a painful and dark poem, it is dealing with subjects passionate to my heart….forgiveness, letting go, resilience and healing.  All important things happening in my life right now that I am passionate about on my journey.

box collage




I leave you with a few additional words about a box full of darkness.  I welcome you to download the photo and share it.

box full of darkness

All other photos and original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-2016.  Any reprints or use of other photos or content is by permission only.

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  1. July 3, 2016    

    I wow, your poem is stunning. I was with you in it all the way. Your inner work has really borne fruit. Beautiful x

    • July 4, 2016    

      Thanks so much Catherine….it has been a long road with this box. Your sweet words mean so much to me!

  2. July 3, 2016    

    What a stunning image of such a box, I think such a box is needed, not so much to have it hidden but contained, a way to look at it and know you can handle it. Wonderful poem

    • July 4, 2016    

      Yes that is the key Bjorn…not keeping the box hidden. So happy you liked the poem.

  3. July 3, 2016    

    I loved this. We all have such boxes. We must find a way to deal with them. I understand this one I a really guttural way.

    • July 4, 2016    

      Oh that is so wonderful that you loved this poem….and I think many have such a box that they have to deal with.

  4. July 3, 2016    

    I bet the tear didn’t fall, Donna. 🙂 Such a strong voice you have here. Acceptance, moving on with a peaceful heart.

    • July 4, 2016    

      Oh you now me too well totomai…that tear did not fall. Writing this poem has shown me how strong I really have become….thank you my friend.

  5. July 3, 2016    

    Keep it yes but don’t keep looking at it for you must walk away from that part of your life and start anew. All you need to remember is that you have it tucked away safe…and have learned a lot from it..

  6. July 3, 2016    

    Such honest work. I think we all have one of those boxes. It takes bravery and strength to not let it rule our lives in a negative way.

    • July 4, 2016    

      Thanks Freya….it has taken a long time for that bravery to show itself or for me to realize it was there.

  7. July 3, 2016    

    Such an honest and heartfelt poem, Donna..❤❤ Your passion shines through bright as fire in these lines “And as I gaze upon this box, I know it is never forgotten. But it no longer defines me. Abused, Used, Victim! No this box I hold, shows me I am a survivor. I have risen. Strong of heart, shame resilient.” For even though events in life tear us down our passion are the true phoenixes which help us rise anew from the ashes. Beautifully penned (as always) Thank you so much for participating at Prompt Nights and for your constant love and support. ❤❤

    Lots of love,

    • July 4, 2016    

      Much love to you Sanaa for your beautiful thoughts about my poem….’even though events in life tear us down our passion are the true phoenixes which help us rise anew from the ashes’….so very true!

  8. July 3, 2016    

    And a poem full of light and hope – i love the quote and how you have so very clearly processed it and almost absorbed its strength – perhaps a sign that we are moving forward is when we can re-visit the box..without judging ourselves..and the what ifs.. what is is what counts and if that is even a little brighter – it’s an achievement and courageous – much light to you

    • July 4, 2016    

      Yes I did feel like I absorbed the quote….and how wise of you Jae Rose…I agree it is a sign we are moving forward when we can visit the box and it does not define us anymore…thank you!

  9. Mary Mary
    July 3, 2016    

    Oh this is good, Donna. It is good that those boxes are not allowed to define a person, that they are kept in their place & learned from.. And perhaps one can be more resilient and stronger in character as a result. I like this poem a lot…it is a different style for you…and works so well!

    • July 4, 2016    

      Mary it means so much to me that you think this good…it is a very different poem for me, and came deep, strong and easy from inside. I have been penning a lot of healing poems so perhaps this style will show up again.

  10. July 3, 2016    

    What a wonderful realisation for you!

    • July 4, 2016    

      Thanks so much Rosemary…it has been a big move forward for me.

  11. July 3, 2016    

    It’s true that the box always remains but it stops defining who we are… a thoughtful, brave poem Donna.

  12. July 3, 2016    

    Wow, Donna, this is powerful writing. Thank you for being so brave to share such a personal painful experience. I have heard of Mary Oliver’s quote before, and love your interpretation. Yes, it’s about forgiveness, letting go, resilience, and healing. A painful past can make us stronger, and I can see now where the sensibilities in your poetry come from, and how you have transformed a negative experience into a beautiful, grateful, blessed life. You’re not only a survivor but you’re thriving. Wonderful post! 🙂

    • July 4, 2016    

      Oh thank you Loredana…you have given me a gift with your wonderful words my friend!

  13. July 3, 2016    

    I love the rising…the box may be the fire and the speaker a phoenix…beautiful, beautiful and so uplifting Donna….

    • July 4, 2016    

      Oh I love your thoughts Sumana….yes maybe the box is the fire and I am the phoenix….I am so happy you thought it uplifting.

  14. July 3, 2016    

    What strong message, Donna, in your very sensitive poem inspired by the quote of Oliver : ““Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this, too, was a gift.” !”

    I know that your poem it talks about abuse; But it seems to me that it can be so well related with lots of pains, sad moments of life, pains that are locked in the hearts, the souls of people… I’m so touched by these lyrics of yours:
    “And while I may feel some residual pain,
    And a tear may appear at the corner of my eye,
    This box, oh this holy, blessed box is your gift to me.
    One you never knew you gave me,
    Perhaps the only one you ever gave me.

    And so I keep this ‘box full of darkness’
    Neatly wrapped in the attic of my heart,
    Where now it holds a special place on the altar of my soul.”

    Thank for your brave and strong, sensitive poem and post. Thank you for sharing with us of your emotions and thoughts. A very thoughtful poem and brave message. It inspire me so much…

    • July 4, 2016    

      Oh yes Alexa the box can be any pain or sadness in our lives….and you are most welcome….part of the healing is in the sharing… means a lot to have my poem be inspiring…I am so glad you found it so.

  15. July 3, 2016    

    I love that snort of derision that he “remembers you fondly”. Obviously he has rewritten history. Love that you know those times forged your spirit in such strength, that you have risen far beyond those hard times. I especially resonate with the darkness having been a gift, though we could not know that at the time.

    • July 4, 2016    

      Oh yes Sherry he did rewrite it to his own thinking as if nothing ever happened…..

  16. July 3, 2016    

    The most powerful triumph against abuse and abuser is for the one who was abused to stop being a victim… to use the scars as armor… to move on and live… and this poem says that in a wonderful way. Love the symbolism. ♥

    • July 4, 2016    

      Many thanks Magaly….yes it is finding the armor that is essential.

  17. July 3, 2016    

    The box of darkness…just a lesson hard won, a treasure really, kept in the attic of your heart….so beautiful!

    • July 4, 2016    

      A treasure I never knew I had…thank you so much Annell!

  18. Kerry O'Connor Kerry O'Connor
    July 3, 2016    

    This is a remarkable poem – you took the quote and made the metaphor your own. It is difficult sometimes to tap into personal history to write poetry but the words take on a life of their own, and speak to others.

    • July 4, 2016    

      Oh so kind of you Kerry, this high praise…thank you! I agree sometimes a personal poem will take on a life of their own…and if we are lucky it will speak to others.

  19. July 3, 2016    

    YES. An emphatic yes.

  20. Susan Susan
    July 3, 2016    

    I’m glad its boxed and wrapped and stored AFTER being dealt with. Such packages can play with our minds until they are transformed into gifts by some amazing grace. I’ve earned that the transformation has little to do with the actual abuser.

    • July 4, 2016    

      So very true Susan….the transformation of the abused is their own.

  21. July 3, 2016    

    it’s not something you usually write about, but when you write it, it is such a strong piece of work. it moves the reader.
    it is good that you can moved on.

    • July 4, 2016    

      Thanks so much…I have been branching out a bit as some healing has occurred….glad you enjoyed it!

  22. July 3, 2016    

    A courageous poem. It makes me sad to think you have suffered this .Domestic abuse is at epidemic proportions in Australia. You should feel proud of yourself that you have moved on and overcome your situation. It does not define you and has nothing to do with your worth Abusers and bullies of all kinds are cowards and insecure. They target perceived vulnerability…usually soft sweet people because it’s easy. I think you are great for writing this poem.

    • July 4, 2016    

      Thanks so much Rall…I was young when it all happened and it seems to still be a secret when people are abused even today…..we don’t want to share, but it is so much better when we do.

  23. July 4, 2016    

    You took a line of Oliver’s and made it sing. Nice

  24. July 4, 2016    

    How important for that box to be there hidden away but not brought out to show everyone but to place all that hurt safely where it can no longer do any harm. A lesson has been learned and you can walk freely again.

  25. July 4, 2016    

    DOnna; Im happy your are out of that box having grown and healed enough to view it as a gift

    Thanks for dropping in at my Sunday Lime

    Monday WRites 65 is live

  26. July 4, 2016    

    This post reminded me of my best friend’s ex husband. It’s possible that in his darkest hours he acknowledges the pain he caused but outwardly he is comfortable in his arrogance.

    • July 4, 2016    

      In my case Susan I highly doubt he acknowledged anything…but perhaps…

  27. July 4, 2016    

    A very important and poignant piece with a voice gentle yet strong. Love that you’ve reached a place in this journey for….forgiveness, letting go, resilience and healing. That’s power on its own.

  28. ZQ ZQ
    July 4, 2016    

    Hmmm! In my writing group at the State University, always mention the writings of Mary Oliver. I have yet to read her but you perked up my interest.
    Your pieces and pictures continue to amaze me.

    • July 4, 2016    

      Thank you my friend…Mary Oliver is a personal favorite of mine and worth reading!

  29. July 4, 2016    

    A powerful and poignant piece – written with the clarity and the peace imbued from “letting go” that only time and freeing introspection can confer. An imagining journey, articulated with honesty and strength. A triumph!

    • July 4, 2016    

      Oops – a bit too quick on the “post comment” button – meant to type an “unimaginable” journey.

    • July 5, 2016    

      Much gratitude I give to you Wendy for such high praise for this very personal poem. Thank you!

  30. July 5, 2016    

    Oh wow. WOW. This is so good. I have a good friend that really needs to read this and will share with her. Thank you so much for sharing!

    • July 6, 2016    

      Oh my thank you Robin….I am so pleased you are sharing this!

  31. July 5, 2016    

    That must have been some journey for you. I like the idea of a box to contain the darkness. Your image of the box is beautiful.

  32. July 6, 2016    

    From darkness comes light, from failures we get success 🙂

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