Poetry Competition 2013 – Portfolio Prize Winner

Drawer Life

by Shelley Nutting

On those days
when it is too hard
to stand tall,
I fold myself down
like a well read letter,
slide my ego into
a lavender scented envelope
and file it away in
the dresser drawer.
In amongst the blu-tack and dust,
the partially melted
birthday candles,
I sit patiently waiting
for my buckled knees
to lock once more
and my spine to straighten
… just a little.

Added: 29.04.2013

Judges' comments on this poem

03.05.2013

A succinct and powerful evocation of how someone copes with depression; loved the imagery of the drawer and letter

03.05.2013

whispered observations that are simple and lovely and almost leave an imprint

03.05.2013

beautiful. beautiful. beautiful. such a well realised poem.

04.05.2013

What is the real theme here? There's a beginning but it needs to evoke something.

04.05.2013

simple idea, well written, although 'stand tall' is a cliche. The 'partially melted birthday candles' ring true.

09.05.2013

A compact and sustained metaphor that is easy to fit into. Lovely details of the drawer imply time passing as we wait for ego recovery.

14.05.2013

I enjoyed reading this, thanks

14.05.2013

Beautiful words that have made an utterly beautiful poem.

15.05.2013

Very eclectic topic which was really well executed in terms of writing of the poem itself. There was a natural flow which the reader could follow. Enjoyed this very much..

15.05.2013

Evocative, differenent a pleasure to read

15.05.2013

Compact resignation to a common dilemma. Clear and succinct, spare and as yet unresolved.

16.05.2013

I love this poem for its simplicity and its optimism. When I get into my own drawer I will think of the resident of this drawer.

17.05.2013

Loved the simplicity of this piece in describing profound human experience. Sympathy evoked immediately for this humble persona.

18.05.2013

As someone who suffers from an anxiety disorder, this poem really spoke to me. One part that really struck a chord was the lavender. The search to be soothed when nothing can help.

18.05.2013

This portrayal of difficult times is so gentle. It soothes me.

20.05.2013

this was in a previous batch of 12

20.05.2013

A writer with the audacity to submit such a short poem - I like it. The brevity suits the theme. Beautifully put together and nice use of ellipsis at the end.

23.05.2013

This touches me deeply. The drawer is a place I know well.

23.05.2013

Not a single word out of place

24.05.2013

Beautiful images, disturbing poem. We understand. Look at rhythms and line length to round off this poem would be my only criticism.

26.05.2013

This poem flows well and reveals the way a person (possibly aged) with physical difficulties is resigned to their condition and has to wait to feel better before they can function. Short and effective

03.06.2013

simple and meaningful

03.06.2013

There is something of a delicacy to this poem in the way the writer describes the folding into a lavender envelope. It is beautifully written.

03.06.2013

Simplicity of image carries the metaphor, keeps it clean, honed. Do you need the last line?

03.06.2013

Lovely and spare - might have been good to get the meaning across more clearly

03.06.2013

a nice poem,,i felt discription of side effects of age,unique nicely put together and nice read,

03.06.2013

I really liked this one a lot.

04.06.2013

i like it

04.06.2013

internal life isn't always easy to capture - it is here

04.06.2013

This poem strikes at a fear we all have as we wonder about the future and what may become of us. Its a lovely poem full of regret and lost dreams

04.06.2013

Concise and visual.

04.06.2013

Not my type of poem, but I can see the attraction of it.

04.06.2013

Simple words that tell a lot. How ageing catches up with us all and how we try to overcome it. Nicely written.

04.06.2013

Lovely imagery 'I fold myself down / like a well read letter', beautifully evocative

04.06.2013

Excellent tiny poem about depression

04.06.2013

A short, beautiful poem.

04.06.2013

some people just sometimes want to be unoticed and be left alone

04.06.2013

Powerful and painful.

04.06.2013

A serious subject but treated with just the right degree of humour and perception.

04.06.2013

touchingly beautiful

04.06.2013

Simple but memorable

04.06.2013

To me this spoke of memory and I loved the images of and the scents it evoked.

04.06.2013

One of the simplest yet most effective poems I have read. Made me go, 'Ahh'. We all recognise those days.

04.06.2013

Direct, soft-spoken, intimate, clean.

04.06.2013

Short but sweet, it flowed well.

04.06.2013

A poem that appears to be simplistic at first, but is a lovely, magic realist take on the strength of depression when it wants to take over. The conciseness represents the fatigue of the poem's voice.

04.06.2013

Great play on imagery and an extended metaphor.

04.06.2013

beautifully simple and nostalgic.

04.06.2013

poignant and real.

04.06.2013

Wonderful use of a few words to say a great deal.

04.06.2013

This poem sums up in the most elegant yet simplistic form those hidden feelings on days where we don't quite feel ourselves and those days when doubt creeps in and we want to hide ourselves away

04.06.2013

short and sweet

04.06.2013

I love the defiance of this poem, it's the smallest of the finalists but perhaps the strongest.

04.06.2013

we all feel like this sometimes and we all have that drawer.

04.06.2013

A perfect little poem that captures a lot. Thank you.

04.06.2013

The well-read letter metaphor is nice, but is this about the physical trials of ageing, or something more? 'Slide my ego...into an envelope' suggests something else the poet hasn't told us about!

04.06.2013

A philosophical resignation towards akes of age allows to fold down like a well read letter.

04.06.2013

I love this little poem, so lyrical, sweet and poignant. It beautifully describes how life sometimes feels, when we just want to hide away until we can once again face the world

04.06.2013

Brief, but interesting and oddly sad.

04.06.2013

Such a sbtle, understated poem that actually says so much.

04.06.2013

Hidden testimonials, suffering in silence.

04.06.2013

Creative. Interesting comparison, human life and a drawer, but both lonley and waiting.

04.06.2013

at the end of the day there are simply good days and bad days....... this so simply captures the essence of doing either one

04.06.2013

A nice concept expressed in a very concise and accessible way. A perfectly balanced and constructed verse from someone who understands the natural rhythm to be found in a simple sentence.

04.06.2013

Subtly sad, deceptively simple and, consequently, utterly profound.

04.06.2013

Really like this poem-not sure but seems to be a self portrait of a writer -like a carpenter who hates throwing away words or wood.

04.06.2013

Drawer Life is magnificent

04.06.2013

Easily my number 1 choice I guess because I can relate to it so much. Short poems are HARD - you have to fit so much in. The writer does this very well with this poem - It's great.

04.06.2013

I enjoyed the simplicity of this poem. Eloquent story telling.

05.06.2013

this creates a moment we must all feel at times.

05.06.2013

Quality all the way friend, loved it!

05.06.2013

In my opinion, this is far and away the best poem on the short list. Wonderfully evocative, imaginative and tightly crafted.

05.06.2013

It's OK.

05.06.2013

A very good metaphor throughout the poem.

05.06.2013

An effective simile to convey both the mental and physical debilitation associated with depression.

05.06.2013

Well, we all have a 'drawer life' day from time to time...

05.06.2013

Loved this poem because I think everyone has those days, it is so easy to relate and perfect use of words.

05.06.2013

Yes, a thought-provoking and memorable poem.

05.06.2013

A really interesting concept (self as letter) neatly executed in a compact form.

05.06.2013

simple and scente amongst the "blu tac and dust"

05.06.2013

What a end! I was surprised! Well done!

05.06.2013

A cute little poem which is easy to relate to. The imagery used is effective to convey the emotions and I like how you have used the senses (eg. the Lavender scented envelope).

05.06.2013

Great.

05.06.2013

Very imaginative. I smiled when I read this poem.

05.06.2013

Liked the economy of this description of coping with depression and sense of someone standing outside themselves observing.Effective envelope/letter imagery and self knowledge shown by ego reference.

06.06.2013

Very moving poem. Simple, yet striking.

06.06.2013

Telling poem about the ageing/ailing body - like the extended metaphor of drawer life. Succinct. Interesting.

06.06.2013

One so apparently simple sums up so many of our thoughts. You can take what you want from this echo of life. A great economy of words to convey a strong message to ask about what is hidden

06.06.2013

Simple and effective, wouldn't we all like to 'fold down like a well read letter' somedays!

06.06.2013

thought provoking

06.06.2013

The self-deprecating but unsentimental depiction of zero self-esteem is very eloquently done.

06.06.2013

A beautiful image clearly available. It scans well for the first 6 lines, then loses its rhythm a little. The continuation of the folding and juxtoposed items keept it going for the reader though.

06.06.2013

For me this was about depression and the desire to hide away somewhere safe and secure. It feels like the start of recovery at the end, albeit a slow one. Great imagery.

06.06.2013

Succinctly perfect and neatly folded poem.

06.06.2013

a very current issue and aptly described

07.06.2013

Beautiful imagery! I like the subtle hint of comparison with the half melted candles.

07.06.2013

Very simple flow of ideas which is effective and moving.

07.06.2013

Nice símiles and imagery.

07.06.2013

People are brave to record themselves without pretence. This poem has a tinge of humour and is neatly written, avoiding staged drama.

07.06.2013

Simple, lovely and affecting, an incredibly warm human poem that had me sighing/shouting "me too!". All the stronger for its economy of well-chosen words.

07.06.2013

Packs a lot into a little.

08.06.2013

Great idea, well executed. I liked the deatails - the blu-tak, dust & candles. I wonder if 'myself' instead of 'my ego' might work better and I think the last line is not required.

08.06.2013

Enjoyed the opening. Felt it promised more than it delivered. Maybe rework second half of poem.

08.06.2013

Relatable and uplifting, in a way.

08.06.2013

I didn't get it, but I liked it.

08.06.2013

I think we all have days like this. Very well written.

09.06.2013

The ending is fantastic and though the poem is short, it positively evokes emotion very well. Taking a simplistic idea and describing it with such power, very well done!

09.06.2013

Delighted to see this in the final twelve - perhaps the most original poem I read this year!

09.06.2013

A touching picture. I love the last line - takes you by surprise!

09.06.2013

love the simplicity and original sentiment expressed in this poem

09.06.2013

Nice idea; concise and effective.

09.06.2013

An original and interesting idea

09.06.2013

This poem was my favourite by far..deserved winner for me..

09.06.2013

Simple, beautiful.

10.06.2013

The simplicity of this is was drew me to it. There are some really beautifully whimsical lines and I particularly like the way in which it gets across its message without too much artifice.

10.06.2013

A clever poem that expresses in a few simple words a feeling, most likely known universally. Its detailed imagery makes one think and wish ...just a little. Well done!

10.06.2013

This is something we would all do much more often: make ourselves small and let things flow, accept them as they come, for the greater good.

10.06.2013

A wonderful analogy and image - finely balancing emotion and craft

10.06.2013

Rejection. Dealt with.

11.06.2013

My favourite image from all the poems I've read in the competition: the ego being filed into a drawer in a lavender-scented envelope. A concise lovely poem built neatly around this idea.

11.06.2013

Full of strong imagery in very few words. I particularly like the lines ‘fold myself down like a well read letter’ and ‘in amongst the blu-tack and dust etc.’ Fab. Feelings we can all identify with.

11.06.2013

superb writing. very enjoyable. Like the smell of rain and a badly brewed coffee around family and great barbecue. Amazing.

12.06.2013

Simple, elegant and poignant without being sentimental. What it doesnt say is as powerful as what it does and there are wonderful gaps for the reader to enter and identify with. Immediate and personal

12.06.2013

Really liked it!

12.06.2013

A tiny portrait of a detail, a feeling, in life - love it. Concrete ordinary details of the drawer make the abstract concept of folding oneself down so real and tangible. Clever and vivid.

12.06.2013

Expresses stress, without hopelessness. Very nice.

12.06.2013

Reacted to this poem immediately on first reading. Original and engaging. Found the short lines a bit disconcerting though- but perhaps deliberate. Wonder what it reads like with different breaks?

12.06.2013

had this twice before to judge

12.06.2013

Very sweet and whimsical with serious overtones. Not overwhelmingly complex but shows lots of skill nonetheless.

13.06.2013

Economical use of words convey much

13.06.2013

A very interesting angle and well written.

13.06.2013

nice sentiment

13.06.2013

Wonderful imagery of putting oneself away.

13.06.2013

Loved this

13.06.2013

Original comparison.

13.06.2013

The short clear lines of the poem seem to resemble the "fold(ing)...down" of the speaker.

13.06.2013

Excellent!

13.06.2013

This should appeal to us all. When things get too much and we want to fade away for a while. So concise and so to the point. Lovely.

13.06.2013

Simple but 1effective piece of self-analysis

13.06.2013

A beautiful strand of thought, nice imagery, poignant.

13.06.2013

A courageous exposure of suffering

13.06.2013

I think that brevity is the key here ... excellent use of tiny details.

13.06.2013

Loved the bit where the author "folds down", because i do that when in a lot of pain or anguish. Also the thought of sliding into an envelope sounds very tempting for me.

13.06.2013

I can relate to this poem on such high levels, one of my favorites for sure.

13.06.2013

Ah! We've all felt like this.

13.06.2013

just like it

13.06.2013

we all require a drawer day every once in a while to make our back a bit straighter

13.06.2013

This simple little poem, though short, perfectly captures a feeling we've all experienced from time to time of just not feeling up to facing the world. If only we could fold ourselves into a drawer...

13.06.2013

A beautiful well crafted poem

14.06.2013

Ah...the days when we all wish we could hide from the world and envelop ourselves in soft scented lavender...i really like this poem...it's found me out. Well done.

14.06.2013

Clever and well constructed.

14.06.2013

Great poem - really enjoyed the way you expressed yourself.

14.06.2013

Good length and language, beautifully written.

14.06.2013

What this poem lacks in length it makes up through its punch. The allusion to the letter allows us to imagine compressed feelings, as well as painful encounters.

14.06.2013

A very simple concept, yet clever at the same time. I liked this different approach

14.06.2013

A very sad poem, which depicts the struggle against low self-esteem, and by its "off-beat" image of "I fold myself down like a well read letter, slide my ego into....envelope"... it rends ones heart.

14.06.2013

Elegant, well observed and the rhythm is very nice.

14.06.2013

A short yet excellent poem which leaves the mind to linger after having been read.

14.06.2013

I like this little poem because of its apparent simplicity. It is well crafted and I'm sure many people will identify with the feelings expressed here. A memorable poem.

14.06.2013

This poem reall speaks to me. I get it. I am in that drawer.

15.06.2013

A good conveyance of imagery particularly the antithesis of action versus stillness and agility versus age.

15.06.2013

I liked the simplicity of this concept, which seems to express an unassuming personality, patiently waiting ........ with quiet optimism. Hopefully tomorrow will be a better day!

15.06.2013

Good, liked the comparisons in the poem

15.06.2013

An easy rhythm that helps the words and the reader slide in amongst the detritus of the drawer.

15.06.2013

...just a little. I liked this mini poem very much. I wish I could fold myself too, at times. Peace.

15.06.2013

I like the clean elegance of these lines, the lack of self-pity, the imagery. A beautifully written piece.

15.06.2013

I appreciate the way this poem describes the way we lock ourselves away when we can't face the world. We wait in solace, hiding while we long to be found.

15.06.2013

Comical and also powerful. Really enjoyed this poem.

15.06.2013

I personally relate to this poem, it is beautifully written. Thank you

15.06.2013

Simple, but effective idea. Image of "folding" self like an envelope a really good simile carried through. It expresses an acceptance of self, no annoyance, but calm wait for confidence to return.

16.06.2013

Bit insubstantial for me, albeit poignant.

16.06.2013

but there are days when I feel just like this! perfectly described.

16.06.2013

Like the folding metaphore

16.06.2013

Beautiful poem! My one suggestion would be to take out the lines "the partially melted / birthday candles." They draw attention away from the poem. Readers focus on why they are there than the poem.

16.06.2013

still beautiful.

16.06.2013

A simple and effective metaphor for ageing. I like the central image that you use of folding yourself down into a drawer, to convey the sad but perhaps inevitable loss of ego in the old and infirm.

16.06.2013

I feel the poems qualities and features reflect what is being said in the poem. It is small and thin without narcissistic grandeur. Bare bones poetry yet still profound.

16.06.2013

I can relate to this. Your imagery made me smile.

16.06.2013

still love this one- I fold myself down

16.06.2013

An interesting metaphor, simple yet very effective with a clear picture.

16.06.2013

This is lovely!

16.06.2013

Short, to the point, doesn't waste any words and flows - good idea and well developed.

16.06.2013

Very original

16.06.2013

This short and sparse reflection on momentary frailty has oodles of charm.

16.06.2013

Very close to making my final four, because of its brevity and the effective imagery. Could be in anyone's top four, in fact the top twelve poems at this stage could all go through, difficult decision

16.06.2013

Great story line..

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