Ragged Clown

It's just a shadow you're seeing that he's chasing…


Return to Wonderland

A Package Arrives

It was a quiet day at the office today
The drive home was quieter still.
“Like every day really”, she thought to herself.
“A little work, a little time to kill”.

“How would she kill her free time today?”
She wondered as she opened the door.
“A movie perhaps? Or a book? Or TV?”
“Or just wash the kitchen floor?”

Life had been kind to Alice.
She had everything a woman could want.
A wonderful man. Two beautiful children.
A house at the edge of the wood.
Marvellous health. No financial concerns.
She went jogging whenever she could.

“Who could want more than a comfortable life?”
She reflected before starting the dinner.
“If life is a contest with winners and losers,
I have clearly come out as a winner.”

A knock on the door interrupted her musings.
Startled, she got up from her chair.
“Now who could that be ?”, she silently asked.
But when she looked, there was nobody there.

Just a box. A small one. She looked at it now;
Felt the weight in the palm of her hand.
On the lid was a label, in the shape of a heart,
With just two words, “From Wonderland”.

Her heart skipped a beat, as the dreams flooded back.
Those memories from so long ago.
Try as she might to put them out of her head,
Unbidden, they started to grow.

How strange were those dreams from her previous life!
Strange, without reason nor rhyme.
Some were savage. Some heartwarming. Some hazy. Some clear.
All softened through the filter of time.

She read the label again. “From Wonderland”.
She shook her head. Could it really be so?
She closed her eyes, bit her lip as she reached her conclusion.
She decided she’d rather not know.

Alice opened the closet which was under the stairs —
The one with the mop and the broom —
She put the parcel inside and shut the door quick
And went back to sit down in her room.

I started writing this about twenty years ago. I had big ideas for an epic poem but never got around to continuing it. I doubt if I ever will now. It was gonna be about a grown-up Alice who has put Wonderland out of her mind but the memories of her past adventures come flooding back to interrupt the drudgery of middle age when she receives a package on her doorstep.

I have only ever shown it to one person before.


9 responses to Return to Wonderland

Claire ATX June 16, 2022

Here are my first thoughts:

I think it is an intriguing poem about contentment and gratitude. It also makes a strong statement for leaving the past in the past and moving forward with loyalty to those who are important in the present.

    Ragged Clown June 17, 2022

    It’s funny, Claire, but that’s the way that I read it now too but it’s certainly not how I intended it at the time.

    It makes for a difficult dilemma: if I were to continue the poem now, should I finish it with my current mindset or my former mindset?

johnboy France June 17, 2022

It is half an intriguing story Kevin, I am not sure if I can finish it, I will have a go, it’s not meant to be critical or offensive, just the thoughts of a rambling fool.

The years had passed, children left home, husband painting the interior doors.
I have been so happy here Alice mulls while swinging on the veranda chair drinking homemade lemonade.
Alice should I paint inside the closet?

Yes please Jed she shouted through the open window.
Gerald appeared on the veranda with a small box, I found this marked Wonderland I have never seen it before.
Alice took the box, yes I received it many years ago, I decided not to open it and put it under the stairs.
Gerald said you better not click your heels.
Alice laughed and playfully threw the box at Gerald, I might be paralysed from the waist down, but I can still click you behind the ear.

Gerald sat beside Alice, they glanced at the box, should we open it Alice.
I am frightened to Jed, it could be pandoras box and we cannot close it, besides what is Wonderland?

It is different things to different people AL, I am curious, I think you should open it.
It is my box Jed, I think it should remain closed, Oh Jed don’t you see, I am already in Wonderland.

You cannot be, your body is ravaged, you are in constant pain, don’t you want all of that to go away.
Alice leaned over and kissed him on the cheek, at what cost would my Wonderland come?
Yes I have had recollections, or thoughts of previous experiences, they are just that thoughts, today is my reality.
Would it mean I could not spend my perfect moments with you, would I ever see my children again, would I never have known what it was like to be completely blanketed by love?
No Jed it is too high a price to pay.

What would wonderland be for you Jed?

You would be my wonderland AL, free of pain, free of uncertainty, happy in a paradise of comfort, away from the mad hatters.

Sorry Jed your answer is not good enough to make me want to open the Box, the alternative might be away to prevent war from ever happening, a cure for all ills, or the solution to nuclear fusion, try again Jed.

Jed thought for a moment, tears slid down his cheeks, every fibre of my body wants to be with you, I love your smile in the mornings, I love it when we argue, I love the way you care about me, I love the way you snore, most of all I just love you for being you.
Nothing worth having comes cheap AL, yes I would sacrifice everything for World peace, incredible advances in medicine, and an opportunity to save the worlds energy problems with nuclear fission, but that appears an awful lot to squash into that little box, if the Box is yours I suspect it is intended on a more personal nature; what if it is a key to heaven?

Now Jed you are questioning my faith, you know I am agnostic, If I believed in heaven or hell, that would mean I would have to believe in life after death, I truly believe any thoughts I have on this subject would not make an iota of difference here on Earth, no Jed there is no key to heaven in that Box.

OK AL one last attempt, what if it were an opportunity to live your life again with a better person in your life, you did not have cancer, you were free of pain, or you could be wealthier, you may want a sexier body, you may want to be a world leader?

Alice burst out laughing, it is a miracle I exist today, I am annoyed with you Jed are you really thinking I want bigger boobs and a slimmer waist to catch a better man.
I have already had one miracle, Like you I have done my best to be the best person I could be, who knows I may have another miracle, make no mistake Jed I would chose you again, take the wonder out of wonderland and we have land, we don’t have to dream or wonder how things could be, we are already on Earth, whether we live or die, we will be part of this land for eternity do me a favour, put the box in the furnace where I should have put it years ago, lets go and make as many perfect moments as we can.

Robin Martinez June 17, 2022

I like your poem, Kevin. I don’t think I would have opened the box either – unless my “contentment” was really discontent under the surface.

Jeffrey Fredrick June 19, 2022

I’d love to know the outlines of what you intended for the poem.

    Ragged Clown June 19, 2022

    I’ve been trying to put my head back in the space where it was 20 years ago so I can complete it. Maybe I will.

    Ragged Clown June 19, 2022

    Or maybe I’ll just tell you over a beer one day.

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