Poems of the Week

Old Dodecahedra

by Mike Mesterton-Gibbons

“Amateur archaeologist discovers bizarre Roman object that has baffled for centuries”

“12 sides, 100 theories: what was the Roman dodecahedron really for?”
The Times

Our forebears, who had impish Roman minds,
Left old dodecahedra in the ground.
Dig experts, who seek purpose in such finds,
Doubt any known hypothesis is sound:
Old candleholders? No. Old Rome used oil.
Dice made for gambling? No. They wouldn’t roll.
Et cetera … These objects, rife in soil,
Could earn no mention in a Roman scroll.
An oversight of scholars? Maybe. Or,
Had Romans pranked posterity instead,
Endowing it with objects solely for
Discreetly messing with an expert’s head,
Repaying nosy future diggers well
Ahead of time? There’s just no way to tell!