Treasure Island

sheena blackhall

(18/8/1947 / Aberdeen)

The Citadels of Sand


The citadels of sand rise up
Magnificent and grand:
And every step of crystal glass
Towers up above the years of grass
Like flitting ghosts that silent pass
In that deluded land.

The music from these costly halls
Falls haunting to the ear
Each gliding painting on the walls
Holds some black secret that appalls
Like some dead girl, unseen, who falls
Into a deadly weir.

There are no guests within that place
No deity, no king.
But ever nearer, waves creep round
To bring great temples to the ground
Sand slithers down without a sound
Where no choirs ever sing.

The sea around that citadel
No boat has ever crossed
The stars above that citadel
In veils of storm are tossed
And at the city's very core
A single sleeper's curled
Dream for a roof, a street, a bed
Lost in that withering world.

Narrow its contours, short its day
Ambition's wynds of power
A thousand tears will wash away
Pride's palace in an hour.

A trembling shadow on a lake,
The troubled sleeper dare not wake,
Lest sky should rend, and breath forsake
And demons of the dark should break
The citadels of sand.

Submitted: Sunday, February 07, 2010
Edited: Sunday, February 07, 2010

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