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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Break (02/06/06)

TITLE: The Land of Broken Dreams
By Kenn Allan


Upon a vast and choppy sea,
The Promise braved the gale,
Her decks awash with angry waves,
She flew with billowed sail.

My Captain fought the wayward wheel,
To clear the jagged reef,
Where weaker ships and sailors past,
Lay torn in shoals of grief.

"Land ho!" I cried from high atop,
The swaying mizzen mast,
"Safe haven lies to starboard side,
Until this storm has passed!"

The Promise lurched, then swung her bow,
Her timbers groaned with pain,
She headed for a small atoll,
Half hidden by the rain.

There, between the breaking surf,
And reef of men's extremes,
I gazed ashore and lo! beheld,
The Land of Broken Dreams.

"I know this place," my Captain said,
His face etched with concern,
"I've strolled its beach a million times,
And hiked it stem to stern."

"It's not a place for men like you,
Who sail among the stars,
But better left for those who weep,
And bleed from bloodless scars."

But deep within my reckless heart,
A thirst for knowledge surged,
It flowed up to my foolish tongue,
And through my lips emerged:

"I must explore this land, M’lord,
Allow me, I implore.”
“If you insist,” my Captain sighed,
“Prepare to row ashore.”

Beyond the foamy caps of white,
And o’er the gleaming sand,
We strode together, side by side,
Into that dismal land.

No song of bird nor beast disturbed,
Our path along the way;
The air was thick with swirling mists,
Which reeked of foul decay.

“What a stench!” I pinched my nose,
“M’lord, what could that be?”
“It is Regret,” my Captain said,
“O'er Dreams lost to the sea.

"For if a Dreamer never shares,
The hope which lies within,
His aspirations float away,
Before they can begin."

A distance on we came upon,
Some gaily-painted carts,
But scrutiny showed them to be,
Weighed down with broken hearts.

“How sad is this!” my own heart cried,
“From whence are these hearts strewn?”
My Captain said, "These are the Dreams,
"Of those who loved too soon.

"Instead of waiting for the one,
Who earned their love and trust,
They were seduced by mere romance,
And built their Dreams on lust."

The blazing sun and salty air,
Had left me parched with thirst,
I wandered to a nearby pool,
Took a draught, then cursed.

"This water is not fit to drink,"
I spat with crude disdain,
"I quite agree," my Captain said,
"That pool is filled with Pain.

"It mourns for all Dreams pushed aside,
From lack of gold or cheers,
This pool was drained of true desire,
And filled with bitter tears."

Beyond the pool we climbed a hill,
And found on the plateau,
Ten thousand cracked and empty jugs,
All standing in a row.

“What Dreams were kept in these, M’lord?
And pray, where have they gone?"
My Captain said, "These once contained,
The Dreams that took too long.

"Impatience strained their earthen sides,
Their walls split with Dismay,
And soon the treasures they held dear,
Had slowly leaked away.”

We started back as darkness fell,
And chill of night drew nigh,
When o'erhead my eyes beheld,
A firestorm in the sky.

I quaked in fear, “What does this mean?”
“When will those flames subside?”
My Captain sadly shook his head,
“It's never satisfied.

“That blaze is kindled in men's hearts,
It burns with fervent heat,
And melts the joy from Dreams fulfilled,
With flames of vile conceit.

"Instead of praising what has come,
He treats Dreams with rebuff,
And like a bonfire in the night,
Will never say, 'Enough!'"

Since that day, I've walked the decks,
And tried to understand,
The teaching of my Captain's words,
Shared in that hellish land.

But one small grain of wisdom,
I was able to perceive:
It's not enough to have a Dream—
You also must believe.

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This article has been read 1653 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Amy Michelle Wiley 02/13/06
All I can say is WOW. I think this may be a winner.
Crista Darr02/13/06
Magnificent! Thank you.
Stevie McHugh02/14/06
Profoundly perfect. Excellent material for illustration -- in cartoon form, a picture book for adults, or even for the stage.
Anita Neuman02/15/06
I agree - this is amazing. Definitely a winner!
Ann Grover02/16/06
Wow... powerful... perfect...
Pat Guy 02/16/06
And just think what would have happened if you had't entered this! You would have denied us this blessing of an absolutely fantastic poem! Wow! And double Wow! And double Thank you!
Sharon Singley02/16/06
Absolutely beautiful! Thank you.
Diane Johnson02/16/06
I began reading your poem and was very impressed with your writing. But then somewhere in my reading of it, I forgot about the contest and was touched by its message, which I have to remember in writing that that's the most important part. You stirred my soul deeply. Thank you.
Linda Watson Owen02/16/06
What a wonderful ballad! Perfect in rhyme and rhythm carrying a timeless message!! Excellent!
T. F. Chezum02/16/06
Incredible! Absolutely magnificent.
Maxx .02/16/06
Excellent... from first line to last. This was well written and carried an equally strong message. I'm more than a little impressed! Ya done good!
Shari Armstrong 02/17/06
Very nice- a well constructed poem.
Marie Gabbard02/18/06
WOW, WOW, & WOW Again. This was WONDERFUL and what a punch of a lesson.
Gwynn Turner02/20/06
Wow...profoundly wonderful! Reading it once is not enough to grasp the depth. I am in awe of your insight and your talent. Congratulations!
Rachel Rudd 02/20/06
Congratulations on your win! It was well-deserved! I am in awe of the way you can write poetry...excellent!
Kate Wells02/20/06
I cannot understand how this did not take first place. It is brilliant. It is masterful.
It was like a key that opened doors in my heart that I did not know were there.
Betsy Tacchella02/20/06
An excellent poem. Every word was well chosen and offered a decisive picture to the reader. Keep writing. You are talented.
Marilyn Schnepp 02/20/06
I'm speechless. Awed! Such a magnificent poem! You are indeed a true Poet! Congratulations!...and well deserved!
Corinne Smelker 02/20/06
Kenn, as a judge I gave your piece a perfect 5 something I seldom do. You drew me in from the beginning and there is such truth to your piece that I had to come back and read it several times, and I am sure I still missed things, and that is the mark of a true writer, to make your reader return again and again to see what else they missed.

Well done on your win, and I certainly hope to see you on the 'podium' agian soon.
david grant02/20/06
This poem flowed like the rythem of the tide, and it sang to me, and taught me something.

It should have won the top prize.