city in the sand

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There is a city, hidden in the sand

where few have visited. I understand

it glitters in the scorching noonday sun.

To find it is the dream of anyone

who feels that they deserve great wealth,

who follow, creeping like a sphinx, in stealth

to enter through the golden portals great -

answer a riddle and confirm their fate.

The city’s treasures are truly renowned.

It really is a golden, gleaming town.


A man came trundling with a great machine,

a steaming metal warhorse, rusty and obscene,

with iron panniers chained on either side

and guns and cannons that you could not hide.

To steal the gold and jewels was his intent

and then to roar away, replete, content.


A raven headed queen held sway within

and through her jewelled spy glass she spied – him!

She knew just what her prosperous city lacked -

she planned to trick him, to keep her wealth intact.

For in the desert, water is the thing!

Her city had no well, no pool, no spring;

relied on fools to bring the precious liquid there -

and this man looked a fool beyond compare!


The lady stood beside her portals bright

and beckoned him to enter, so she might

dissuade him from the bludgeoning attack

which he had planned – and also pay him back!

“Young man” she cried “put down your weapons bold!

No danger here, and welcome to the fold.

You know I’ll gladly give the gold you seek –

you’ll have it ‘fore you are too old to speak

of threats and warlike, infamous intent.”

He was beguiled and followed where she went….


They entered an impressive vaulted hall

with goatskin carpets, and upon the wall

great candle sconces glistening, mirror-bright -

it really was a most impressive sight.

The lady, who was beautiful and knew it,

led the young man to a four poster bed and threw it

o’er with silken and with satin throws

and draped herself thereon – and blew her nose!

A tiny tear came trickling from her eye

almost enough to make the young man cry.

“All that I ask in return for our lavish gold

is water – we dream of it, splashing fresh and cold!

For here in this realm of glittering sparkling sand

the water will not spring at my command.

We need it for the watering of the crops,

for bathing, drinking - and cleaning the palace floor with mops!”


The young man said that with his vast machine,

he’d fetch her water, enough to keep the city clean,

to make the flowers and the vegetables to grow

and for the queen to bathe in, head to toe!

He said he’d take the weapons and the cannons off

so more water could be carried, for the queen to quaff.

He left the armaments upon the floor,

bid the queen farewell and closed the palace door.


Some days went by, then the young man returned

and sad for him, no lesson had he learned.

He laid the water at his lady’s feet

in flasks and flagons and amphora sweet.

There was indeed enough to bathe the town

and plenty left to wash the palace down.


“Now, give me the gold, as we did agree,

and the thousand diamonds that you promised me.

I brought you water, as our bargain stated.

What’s that you say - your thirst, it has abated???”
The man looked down and saw for the first time

that all his guns and cannons stood in a long line

all pointed at his, the young man’s naked head –

one word from that smart queen, he would be dead!


“Thank you for the water, the guns and cannons too

but I think I’ll keep my diamonds, if its all the same to you.

Perhaps you’d like a drink before you go?

Walking miles through this desert is so slow!

To get back to your home will take a while”

said the clever queen with such a pretty smile.


And so the young man left without his cart,

his diamonds, gold and weapons, and his heart.

For if a woman uses her wit and charm

any young buffoon she surely can disarm.

That’s why this golden city in the sand

will always flourish under her command.




citiessandwoman power

◄ january fairy

minnow ►


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Tue 26th Jun 2018 16:43

very well said in your story.
thank you for sharing.

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Harry O'Neill

Tue 29th Jan 2013 21:09

Bravo Anne,
This is what I call `stickin` to the last!` (and it`s got a story too!)

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Ann Foxglove

Tue 29th Jan 2013 13:01

Not a great poem - but it was such fun to do - and to read aloud! Subject was our "homework" for my writers group - I think I'd probably not bother to write some months if it wasn't for them!

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