Thursday, 14 December 2017

The Ghost of Lego Past: an Ode

From whence did you come,
you warrior’s badge of youth?

From which ubiquitous movie tie-in
were you lost?

Star Wars, or Indiana Jones, or Harry Potter
or no… the list will only sadden us.

Let us roll your sharp corners
in our wearied hands,

and remember your usefulness,
and your former glory.

The hours in former times, in which
your simple symmetry kept children,

engaged, quiet, entertained, head-down
and building for hours.

The many, many, many (oh Lego masters,
hear our prayer) hours,

in which we followed your careful instructions:
numbers 1-17, numbers 18-32,

numbers 33-77, numbers 78-130,
sizes and shapes and colours,

to test our failing vision and dexterity,
in your simple creation

(except that 1,000 piece Star Wars cruiser,
which nearly tore us all apart).

Your parts bible which we followed so religiously,
well past the time to turn the turkey,

or mash the potatoes, or set the table,
or make eye contact with other adults,

forgoing that, instead we built with you,
oh Christmas morning parental rite-of-passage.

On our aging knees, after a thorough cleaning,
behind the couch in the basement,

I find you, red rectangular reminder of boyhood
birthdays and sleepovers,

and loud,  endless Lego parties,
from which this pointed, six-holed

piece was thrown, or kicked, or left
somehow, idle in the dark,

separated and not even a second thought
would bring you to mind,

for you were once so common as to be laughable.
How many times did I just vacuum you up?

I admit! The rattle of your brothers and sisters
up the hose was a release, a small act of defiance!

Why would I stoop to collect something
as small and insignificant as you!

Your kind was a curse! A scourge! To be
carefully avoided when barefoot in the dark!

And yet now, after the great Lego purge
of many years gone,

I feel an immediate kinship.
I honour your place in my past,

I feel your heft and your perfection,
remember your snap and trusty grip,

and return you to your dark corner,
beneath the basement couch.

One day I will find you again, decades hence,
and remember the joy there was in your making:

for now, as long as you lie in wait,
my boy is not completely grown.

PD/Nov. 26/2011


ReadingCanada said...

Excellent! (And reminds me of a favorite Gold Star comment from stfuparents.):

Philippa Dowding said...

Dear ReadingCanada: thanks for the kinds words!

Meredyth Young said...

Every time I read this poem, I find editorial changes to suggest, but every time, I read it, I am flooded with teary emotion, that whatever I might have editorialized , has vanished.

Thank you for this poem.

Philippa Dowding said...

Dear Meredyth: well, your son was the Lego king after all! You, no doubt, will be finding Lego pieces forever ...