I often think about how the people we know, can have a lot of history to them that sometimes we'll just never know because of their refusal to talk about it, or it just not coming up organically in conversation. This poem is quite a succinct example of that, in a few words you impart such a complicated history for someone who may never have spoken about it. I'm glad to see it nominated.
I've read this many times and each time I've meant to comment but I've not been able to due to just not knowing what to say really but here I am.
The title 'the spinster' to me says it's going to be possibly a sombre piece as generally a spinster is an unmarried woman especially one past the common age of marrying, whatever that age may be as I know nowadays it genuinely doesn't seem to matter as much and employee's aren't allowed to ask whether you're married or plan to marry nowadays due to the equality act although I reckon it still goes on. I say it may be sombre as just because 'the spinster' in generally an unmarried woman, it doesn't mean she didn't want that in her lifetime, if that makes sense.
The content is firstly, as I expected somewhat sombre, I liked how you described the shoebox because it shows it's been in this ladies possession for some time due to the stench of it hence 'musty' as more often than not this is the case when we've had something for a long time; it smells mouldy or damp. Secondly, the use of the word 'faded' before bow again shows this has been in possession for some time as overtime colours on these things fade but I'm wondering how long this has been being held for and how long this person has had these 'memories' for then bam you tell us in the last line and it links nicely with the whole piece. You have executed this beautifully, it brought back some memories of my nan and grandpa's time in the war and the stories they told me. I'm pleased it's nominated.