Castles in the sand on sea-shine days
moment by moment moulded by his hand
carved from sleepy bedtime fairy tales
great ramparts steep above a plunging moat,
a dragon hide, princess with flaxen hair,
a king enthroned on the gold of time,
tower and spire from spade and bucket pressed
through childhood years of learning feel and touch
with every grain he rumples from the sand.
No grim portcullis here, no boiling oil
no hate no fear, his life untainted
by life’s looming story time.

Castles in the mind built of love and pain
the years of labour spent on other’s plans
a lifetime jostled by rough moulding hands
that set the buttresses on which he stands,
that rang with banqueting when times were good;
a wife, and children too to turn the sand
and all the chattels that a castle brings.
The walls that keep him safe, the moat around,
the effort he must spend in self defence
holding respect his shield against the crowd
thinking this is what he’ll always have
and all his strength will hold until the end.

Then at last age brings down the walls,
for no one cares when all the battles are won.
He creeps between the medals and the flowers,
a faded bloom among the fields of war.
Time frays the pennant, ivy breaks the walls
the roof comes down on an empty hall,
moat fills with weed and crumbling stone,
and drawbridge warps never to rise again.
Unknowingly, unwittingly at last
he stumbles to a strangely peaceful shore,
sand between his toes, wind through his hair,
the skyscape thrills .. with castles in the air.


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