Autistic Songs

Alan Griswold


Previous Table of Contents Next

The Purpose-Driven Life

Although not as often now as when I was young,
It still happens upon this planetís burning surface
A child will spot a model on the toy store shelf
And turn instantly beguiled.
Space shuttle, Eiffel Tower, late-model car,
Three-masted ship—it matters not,
The glossy image on the box beckons
With hue, decal and precision.
The child is cast as a willing slave,
A slave to constructionís glory.

Perhaps blessed with parents possessing eyes
For budding wonderment, perhaps
Resourceful enough to tug on a reluctant sleeve,
Our child gets his wish fulfilled,
And on the ride home even the road squirms
With anticipation: piece fitting cleanly to piece,
Red enamel coating with audacious warmth,
The finished product speeding at speeds,
Scaling at heights heretofore unknown
Inside playroom walls.

With shrink-wrap ripped and flaps torn to reveal contents,
His enthusiasm might still be rising …
But the pieces indeed are many.
Glue. There is never enough glue,
And then there is way too much glue.
Instructions first set aside as slighting insults
Now mock as hieroglyph from the bedroom floor.
Nothing fits to fit, paint smears and never where intended to smear,
And Dad is none too happy about what has happened to the rug.
One day, perhaps two days, certainly no more than a week,
His hollow feelings unrelieved this child begins to wonder
If the dream was worth a dream. The tragedy is,
He does not yet know the depths of his own despair,
For this is after all only a model, with a scale of one to infinity.

The purpose-driven life overwhelms us with detail and size,
Each goal seemingly checked by circumstance,
All steps unveiling a wider vision of the massive structure
Yet to build. Pieces fill a range from quark to cosmos,
Construction lasts from bang to farthest light-year reach.
How to comfort a child with lessons of effort and patience
When we stand so dumbstruck and numb ourselves?
The ancients always warned us, God is surely boundless—
Now we know, they were not kidding.

Copyright © 2011 by Alan Griswold
All rights reserved.