Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Break (02/06/06)
TITLE: The Land of Broken Dreams
By Kenn Allan
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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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