Sunday, 22 December 2019

Last Bardsong for 2019: "Visions upon the Sands"

(Received a "Highly Recommended" award in the FaithWriters Competition.)


I like to walk along the coast
To breathe fresh air, to walk, to pray.
Early morn you’ll see me most
Before the crowds come out to play.

The Spirit rose, just like a breeze,
Not from the sea but in my heart:
“Look well, my son, on all of these.
My works to thee shall truth impart.”

So then I looked with different eyes
Beyond the smells of kelp decayed
And dirty refuse, smoggy skies.
Enchanted worlds were then displayed.

I saw the sands like tiny sheep
That follow where the currents go.
Some grains may graze within the deep
Or high and dry above the flow.

The restless dunes forever drift
So driven by the gypsy wynd.
With shifting feet both slow and swift
New ground it claims, soon left behind.

But hardy grasses some confined
And held them fast with fibrous ropes.
Then laughing children played and mined
Or slid upon their sandy slopes.

Then said the Wind: “If thou wilt bear
The bonds of love and not rebel,
Then many a blessing thou shalt share,
Abundant more than thou canst tell.”

I found a pile of broken beams,
A grave, a shrine of wood, sun-bleached,
A memory of shattered dreams.
‘Twas here a mighty vessel beached.

Its proud mast once rose proud and tall
Above the waves it thought to rule.
But treach’rous shoals then caused its fall.
The heedless captain was a fool.

Then spake the whisp’ring Wind once more:
“If thou wouldst sail the seas of life,
My course will bring thee safe to shore
Avoiding shoals of sin and strife.”

I saw the sands as battle-grounds.
White-crested warrior-waves that roar,
Roused by deep ocean trumpet-sounds,
Make endless war upon the shore.

The waves lay siege upon the rocks
And sweep away the yielding sands.
The mighty wall it proudly mocks
“Nay! Ye shall never take our lands!”

Relentless white-helms struck again
Until the weaker tower crumbled.
Armour’d cliffs resist in vain,
The stubborn pillars’ pride it humbled.

Yet when the tides of war retreat,
Behold! Th’embattled sands remain!
Around the shattered rocky feet
Serenely spreads the golden plain.

“Thus,” said the Wind, “The hearts of men
Are troubled waters, anger-driven.
Their walls of pride will fall again
In brokenness to be forgiven.”

And so I knelt down in the sands
And bowed my head before the Wind.
“Thy Word, O Lord, forever stands.
O, wash us clean, for we have sinned.”

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