Archives for posts with tag: John Masefield

A Box of Delights is the title of a children’s book by the former poet laureate, John Masefield.  It is the sequel to The Midnight Folk.

Box clever is an alternative expression to play your cards right, which I used in the title of another post.

A box of tricks is a gadget, which is contained in a box or it could be a conjuring set.

Watching the box is an old-fashioned expression for watching television.  For a long time television sets were box-shaped.  Now there are flat-screen ones using different technology.

What’s on the box? was a question about TV schedules.  Interestingly the BBC’s magazine listing programmes for the week ahead is still called the Radio Times.

Goggle-box is another name for a TV set.  If you watch for too long, you may have square eyes.

A boxer may be a prize-fighter or a breed of dog.

Boxing-gloves are padded gloves worn by a boxer.  No prizes for guessing which sort!

A wooden box comes in all sizes of cuboids, but is also a euphemism for a coffin (casket).  Wooden may even be omitted: “They carried him off in a box” also refers to a coffin.

A shoebox is a cardboard box containing a pair of shoes.  They have all sorts of other uses too.  This year I kept my Christmas cards in one, while I was preparing them for the post or for hand-delivery locally.  The recent tradition of sending shoeboxes abroad at Christmas has been discussed by another blogger.  My own position here is that I have knitted hats for shoeboxes, but have not provided any other items.

A hat box is a large round box which prevents a hat from being squashed.  Hat boxes can be very decorative.

Nesting boxes and a nest-box are not the same thing at all.  The nesting boxes fit one inside another like Russian dolls.

Russian dolls

Russian dolls

A nest-box is the same as a bird-box or even a bat-box.

Christmas boxes were traditionally given to servants on Boxing Day.  Later they were given to people who delivered milk or collected rubbish, for example, but even that tradition seems to have died out now.

A money-box might not even look like a box, but can be used by a child for saving up coins.

Pottery money-box

Pottery money-box

A collecting box is a different sort of money-box used to raise money for charity.

A stationery box contains notepaper or notecards and envelopes.

A tin box often contains biscuits.

Little boxes all the same is the line from a song I remember from my childhood.

A box room is used for storing things.

The Bible warns us against storing things.  This is very difficult to put into practice in Western cultures.  In the Gospel of Matthew Chapter 6 verses 18-20 (NIV) Jesus said, “Do not store up for yourselves treasure on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.  But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.  For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”

Worse things happen at sea.

One way of cheering people up is to make them realise that other people may be in a worse situation.

You’ll miss the boat.
Hurry up!  (Here boat is used for any opportunity.)

Don’t rock the boat…
or don’t make waves
are advice against upsetting people by suggesting new ways of doing something, for example.

We’re all in the same boat.
Boat here is situation or circumstances.

Plain sailing.
Usually this is used with negative connotations.  I recently heard a difficult marriage described as “It wasn’t all plain sailing.”

That’s taken the wind out of your sails.
Someone said something which deflated someone else’s ego, perhaps.

Ships that pass in the night.
People who live or work near each other, but never meet are described this way.

When your ship comes in.
Ships used to be the main way of importing valuable cargo, so this was often said if someone was dreaming about something they would like to do, if only they could afford it.

Plumbing the depths.
Does this come from measuring the depth of the sea?  It is often used figuratively maybe about searching memory.

I’m all at sea.

Nail your colours to the mast.
Coloured flags are used as signals.  If you nail your colours to the mast, you say what you believe.

There are plenty of other sayings based on the sea and sailing and a wealth of literature.  A writer who was inspired by the sea was John Masefield, whose poems, “Cargoes” and “Sea Fever”, are well know.  His “cross-over” book “The Bird of Dawning” is also well worth reading.

The Sea of Galilee is mentioned in the Gospels.  Two notable occasions are first when Jesus was asleep in the boat and a storm blew up.  The disciples woke him and he stilled the storm.  Matthew Chapter 8 verses 23 to 27  The second one is when he sent them on ahead in a boat and then walked on the water to join them.  Matthew  Chapter 14 verses 22 to 33

Another book I’d like to recommend is “If you want to walk on water, you’ll have to get out of the boat” by John Ortberg.