Found Things

I stumble from room to room

lost like a young wild boy

whose pockets once were stuffed

with marbles and frogs,

foreign coins and knotted string,

a pocket knife and an empty

silver locket, but now has

discovered his clothing empty.


He searches under his bed, behind

bookcases, in the far back

reaches of his black closet

where he sometimes hides. Nothing.

Where could it all have gone?

Vanished as strangely and miraculously

as it all had come to him–

found things, gifts and thefts.


This has happened too often.

So this time before he takes

his papers and paints and throws

them to the floor, before he shouts

so that everyone in the distant

corners of his house come running,

this time he stops and imagines

a pile of lost things someone else


will find: unasked for treasures,

coins from places unheard of, string

from kites set free, an empty locket

once held close to a heart in love.

I wander the rooms of my house now,

not searching, not angry, not

even hopeful. I am merely ready

for the miracle of found things


From Text and Commentary, Mandala Publishing, 1993.  Reprinted in Is This Forever, or What?  edited by Naomi Shihab Nye.

For my thoughts on writing this poem, follow this link.

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About lymangrant

Lyman Grant is a professor of creative writing and humanities at Austin Community College. He has work at ACC since 1978. He is the author or editor of two textbooks, two books relating to Texas literature, three volumes and a chapbook of poetry. Recently he traveled the United States for a year in a 34-foot RV 5th wheel trailer with his wife and two younger sons.