Castles in the Sand

Last updated 2015-03-30 23:31:15 SGT

Walking down the beach one day we met
upon the shore, a brief sand-mound, as left
by early reveller, long since gone to get
a meal or something, leaving it bereft
And though I would have passed it by my friends
of one accord all wished — being good neighbours —
to renovate the castle. In the end
I sat aside aloof, and watched their labours —

As I sat I wondered: why sand-castle?
No man has raised a castle in an age
nor has lord sat in hall, nor dragon slain
by knight of modern days: such things are passed
into the stuff of legend, little else.
What do we see in sand, that we would build
sand-keep on sand-hill over sand-Mark sprawling
though Marks and Keeps in our own world be gone?
What of the sand-lives that reside beneath
the sand-roofs built to cover sand, not shade:
where come the sand-lords or sand-maidens fair;
where comes the sand-king who in palace sits?
where come the sand-knights who, in sand-hall, feast
around sand-table, ere they rise to war
faraway sand-foes? sand-dragons dreadful?
What need has sand to wage war on itself?
Against what foe must sand-liege fortify
his land, lest he himself be captive taken?
Not for them are these sand-castles raised.
No terror does the castle now evoke,
no longer siege, nor strength against collapse:
now ruthless well-placed kicking should suffice.
So toothless are our memories of old
mere effigies of them alone remain
as children's playthings, mounded up of sand.
And only sand!

We went off on our way.

Morning came; I rose to meet the dawn
to walk again along the dusty shore
and saw but filtered sunrise dancing on
a sea of liquid glass stretched out ahead
where mighty keep of sand had stood before
the tide had claimed it; there stood nothing more.

and yet
where there are buckets
where there is laughter
where there is love
where there is life
where there are sun and sea
and sand and sky
and youth in its full flowering
there will be sandcastles.

comments powered by Disqus