city in the sand
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.