David Lewis Paget
The Black Box - Poem by David Lewis Paget
The truck pulled up at the crack of dawn
On a Sunday morn in June,
I could hear the men unloading from
The darkness of my room,
‘What a strange time to deliver, ’ I thought,
As I rose, pulled on my socks,
For there on the porch outside I found
They’d left a big black box.
There wasn’t a mark on this gleaming box
But the scrawl of my own address,
Nothing to say who it was from
Just a silent emptiness,
I left it there til the sun came up
Then I pulled it through the door,
And there in a tiny script was writ
The legend, ‘from Zhongguo’. *
Why would the Chinese send a box,
I hadn’t been there for years,
Maybe the Tong I’d tangled with
Back then, for black was a curse.
I looked for a way to open it
But there wasn’t a flap or seam,
It wasn’t tin and it wasn’t steel
But a substance in-between.
I dragged it out in the garden then,
Outside of the door, at back,
And thought that I would figure it out,
Then the box began to crack.
It heated up in the morning sun
And began to peel away,
Opening up the inside to
Be seen by the light of day.
And there inside was a giant egg,
The biggest I’d ever seen,
All sorts of curious markings on
The shell, in Mandarin.
I went inside and I locked the door
And I sat myself to think,
Why would they send a giant egg?
My mind was on the blink!
It only took a couple of hours
In the sun, that day in June,
And the shell began to break apart,
To hatch in the afternoon,
And a thing crawled out of that empty shell
That I never thought I’d see,
A tiny Chinese Dragon hatched
Came out, was suddenly free!
I couldn’t believe how fast it grew
As it fluttered out its wings,
It ate the cat and my bowler hat
And a host of other things,
Then it wandered down to the goldfish pool
Slid in, and began to swim,
There isn’t a single goldfish left
And the pool is sizzling.
Its head comes up and it gives a roar
And it sets the reeds on fire,
The flame is almost ten feet long
And my future’s looking dire.
Will someone get in touch with the zoo
They can have the beast for free,
Oh no! It’s wandering up the path,
No doubt, it’s looking for me!
1 April 2015
*Zhongguo – pron. Jong gwar – China
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