a grain of sand.
I once rested
atop a dune at the far reaching edge
of the Gobi desert,
buffeted by relentless winds--
where I am now
or a thousand years from now.
I am finer than gravel, coarser than silt
from my years of tumbling,
from there to here.
I am frosted. I will blind you, mere mortal.
My radiance, when the sun burns harsh,
will steal your sight
because you have choices
I will never have.
My honored grandmother,
one of the Rose-Quartzes,
was forcefully pried from
ancient Elder Mountain Altai
during a fierce white winter.
before time began.
My siblings and cousins are widespread--
capricious wind currents cause us to swirl and eddy
in our endless dance. We find then lose each other.
I lose my bearings.
Yet I have
just where I am flung.
Once I rested on hard packed basin
on the Silk Road. Picked up by sandal,
I rubbed against softened skin,
until I was bathed in red warmth.
A scab encased me.
I was trapped.
I couldn't breathe without the wind.
I couldn't shine without the sun.
Irritant, I was called. Worse.
I didn't choose this.
I didn't decide to be swallowed
whole to float in a sea of pus.
I was drowning, yet
there was nothing I could do.
Only option was to wait.
I had waited before; knew I should wait again.
Transported to Khara Khorum,
a ritual cleansing washed me loose
to wander once more.
Blustery winds blew me to safe haven
in donkey mane. Coarse hair supported me;
a jungle of unfamiliar growth. Like distant drums,
each step was a beat, a jouncing
yet I could not roll free until there was a violent
shaking that threw me loose to fall
on some nameless stretch of sand
hugged close by petrified dinosaur bones.
Never still for long, I was disloged
when the bone-stealers came
with their brushes and buckets.
Poured to bounce through metal screens:
I wasn't what they wanted.
Paleontologists, they were called.
Don't they realize I have far more stories to tell
than some bones bleached by the sun?
having survived the blistering heat
when the sky burns yellow,
having survived the spine shattering cold
when the sky turns white with anger,
I have losts parts of myself--
split away, gone, shattered
yet my essence remains; smaller, yet always here.
My family and I
are the great equalizers.
You build your mighty fortresses,
fight bloody battles over drifting sands.
Yet we that comprise those sands
will wear you down, bit by bit.
We will destroy you and your rock ramparts fall to us
while you become nothing.
Once, having taken flight,
I was wet with salt,
swimming in tears I caused
only to be swiped away. I fell,
was scrunched deep amongst my cousins
unable to hold on to the delicious damp.
I was dry with despair.
The Gathering comes
where my friends and I cavort
strong in the mouth of the wind.
Our frenzied steps score all who
get in our way for in Gathering Storm
we cannot be stopped.
We are powerful when we are gathered
for there is strength in the many.
You will know we have danced for we leave
our prints behind.
Our numbers cannot be counted.
At some point the numbers run out
and we merely are. I take as much pride
in the Gobi of us as I do in my small part.
I count; I am one of the All.
I am not nameless,
but you cannot pronounce my name
for words no longer exist
in the language of my beginnings.
I began before your ancestors discovered fire;
I will prevail long after your descendants
are mere history for some distant bone-stealers.
You who scratch words in sand will one day
become as I
only younger, softer.
I am a grain of sand
still on my journey
to the ends of the wind.
Many stories can I impart to any
who might have the ear to listen
for I have traveled farther and further
than your minds can possibly fathom.
Was it only yesterday I watched
as my relations were scooped up,
deposited in glass bottles
(made perhaps from lost cousins?)
and carried away.
No wind touches them now,
no sun will reflect to sunblind.
They are gone to someplace else.
I mourn them without tears
for I cannot cry,
but a piece of me cracks inside
for they are lost forever,
stolen away from home.
I am still here:
mere mote in an eye of the gods,
a speck in the All that there is,
a piece of forever.
Yet I too, have been captured,
encased with odd glass
to tumble over and over,
from up to down.
I am still
a grain of sand
I count the seconds of your tiny lives--
in round-tented ger*
out where sand and sky swallow each other
and, in time, you.
I have time to wait,
am now the essence of time.
when the glass shatters,
when time runs free
I will still be
a grain of sand.
*ger: the traditional nomadic homes of Mongolians, is merely a round tent made of wood lattice and heavy felt panels. A hearth sits in the middle where the cooking is conducted, an alter filled with family photos sits opposite the small door and the rest of the space is filled with various rugs and boxes. Everything is done in this one little tent
Prompt for: Feb 11 (Fyn)
Subject or Theme: Personification of something or some place in China (e.g. Chinese lantern, the Great Wall of China, a Chinese tree, etc.). “Be the lantern!"
Word(s) to Include: (none) (or any derivatives of these words)
Forbidden Word(s): )none) (or any derivatives of these words)
Additional Parameters: Minimum 18 lines.
Remember, do not use forbidden words ANYWHERE, including title or the brief description.