I am an old dusty Trunk sitting on the floor,
Out of sight in the dark behind the Attic door.
Lost, disused or hidden away I was never meant to be,
Having travelled across the World and sailed on every sea.
I was always needed when Empire was a rising star,
Built by clever craftsmen who knew I’d travel far.
My innards made of seasoned wood all lined with linen cloth,
Every chink accounted for to keep out the roving moth;
With robust outer casing of armour good and strong,
To protect me from abuse so nothing would go wrong.
Iron rivets all around and Sheffield steel encased,
Dove-tailed along with strips of oak is how I am embraced.
All those times left waiting on a far-flung dock,
My contents well protected with a good mortice lock.
Treasures they were placed in me and I’ve graced many a room,
Was carried up the Khyber Pass, later abandoned in Khartoum.
No matter where just left to sit, or in a corner lain,
There were always those goin’ roamin’ and I would be on my way again.
In the hold of sailing ships or tied down on the deck,
Davy Jones’ locker looming not knowing if I’d be back.
Then those dirty salt caked Coasters, with chugging forward thrust,
Floating mountains of iron ore and engines fit to burst.
I have been the yoke of Porters and Coolies by the score,
Until their legs grew weary, strained to the very core.
I have stored many items including uniforms of red,
For Queen Victoria’s soldiers who are long gone and dead.
Those days are all departed with my journeys over,
Never again to face salt spray or disembark at Dover.
Oh! If only I could talk, the stories I would tell,
Of war with siege and danger right into the jaws of Hell.
So, if you ever find me, a relic from the past,
Remember I’ve served my time over this World so vast.
Although forlorn and somewhat worn with my travelling future bleak,
Put me out on display for your friends who love antique.
Don’t just stand there looking at me sitting on the floor,
With my reinforced binding behind an Attic door.
Monty Alexander 1.8.96