I learned today of a model of Pompeii*
Made completely out of Lego bricks.
My knowledge of that event in 79 AD
Is also constructed from miniature pieces
Of information, both fictions and images,
Gathered and added on ancient days,
Each a small plastic packet of fact.
Have I assembled them the correct way?
Does that matter? I shall never know.
Visiting the ruins would not help.
I can live my life on stories, until such time
As competing theories challenge them.
But even so, I doubt I would confuse
The real Pompeii with Doctor Who’s.†
This shows us how we model
Our busy integrated worlds.
Lives constructed not of Lego,
But piece by piece, in bite-size chunks
The whole then greater than the sum of parts,
Because we’ve imposed our tidy patterns,
Found significance in particular conjunctions.
It is also waiting to be smashed,
Buried by a Vesuvius of revision,
Engulfed by a pyroclastic cloud
Leaving only traces and burnt out schemata,
Or taken apart, rebuilt in ways yet unknown.
Although we mourn the loss of lore,
Our new ideas will please us well enough –
For the fragile time they will exist –
Before they, too, get recycled, reimagined,
Reconstructed in the imaginary worlds
We keep inside our heads.
© Peter Young 2015
† Doctor Who: Season 4, Episode 2 The Fires of Pompeii (2 May 2008)