When I was young the train would pass
And I’d be told, at once, to stay away.
All these years later, I built one of my own –
On the billiard table, with my boys, before they’d grown.
When I was young, the TV would be on
And he’d sit there so that no-one else could see
The screen – ‘twas only small,
At a time when radio was almost all
The entertainment we could get at home –
So TV was a novelty, of sorts.
Like a child’s first puppy –
Another thing for which I’d have to wait
‘til adulthood to enjoy – almost too late.
I looked over my fence and saw the
Unused railroad, as the flame tree grew
Its first red leaves today.
The ‘road reminded me – of what I once knew
Of a childhood spent so far away
In a house with little, willingly, to share.
I had no reason but my youth for living there.
The flame tree divides the present from the past
As I go and open ornaments for home
‘Christmas lights’, one box says – but, lo and behold,
Inside I found a village, with a moving railroad.
I turned the switch, and all I saw
Was my childhood, sitting there before
My very eyes. I felt bewilderment, I felt surprise,
At what I had made since then –
A train on a moving railroad, that all of us enjoyed.
I’d built it on the billiard table – growing, with my boys.
Published by Owen Tilley