Of his possessions it was my favourite –
a writing box divine in marquetry:
with exquisitely crafted lid inlay
opening to green felt whereon words were writ.
At its appearance my eyes would be lit
by rosewood, walnut, and mahogany
holding secrets and curiosity
in sealed compartments kept so well hid.
This box that accompanied him to sea
was sold by maternal grandmother’s haste,
all its glorious magic lost to me –
I fear that it has long since gone to waste.
Still, I’m left to wonder where it may be,
history, I hope, writ a cherished fate.
Captain Howard Joesph Kempton MBE (1905 – 1985) served in the Royal Marines before, during, and after WWII, the writing box must have been a handy piece of carpentry for staying in touch with loved ones, and as a child (my father then retired) I used to marvel every time he brought out the box.