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Castles In The Sand

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Picture a man’s solitary stroll on a sandy seaside,
Early time of day, just a short time after low tide,
Water almost calm, gentle waves lapping the shore,
Early morning sun brilliantly blazing the horizon.
Feel the wonderful breeze…smell the salty ocean air…  
See, hear the jaegers, gulls and terns flying without a care.

The soothing sounds of the wind, water and gulls
Are suddenly intruded upon by the sad cries of a small child.  
"What's wrong?" the man kindly asks, as he kneels next to her. 
"Someone knocked down my sand-castle," is her reply, tears flowing. 
"Don't worry little one, I'll help you build another." 
To the little girl's delight, the man smooths away the sand,
In preparation for a newer, bigger, better sandcastle.

Soon his concentration is broken by frantic cries for help.  
Looking out over the water, he sees a tiny figure, 
Desperately clinging to one of the buoys marking the deep-water.
Running to the water’s edge, he clearly sees another little girl, 
Close in age to the first, whose swimming has carried her too far,  
And now she perilously clings to the buoy, unable to swim back.

The man returns to the first girl 
And continues to build the sandcastle.
"The girl in the water is safe for now", he assures himself.
"As long as I can hear her cries for help, 
I know her head is above water. 
Besides, this other little girl's problem came first.
As soon as I am done with her sandcastle, 
I will most certainly rescue the other one..."

And so, the man does build the sandcastle, 
One more magnificent than the first.  
All the while he builds, he continues to hear 
The desperate cries from the second little girl.  
By sandcastle’s finish, her cries have become weaker, less frequent.
"Are you happy now?" he asks the first little girl. 
"Oh yes," she cries, "thank you sir...."
As she joyfully dances around her new sandcastle.

With that, the man springs into action, 
Just as she slips off the buoy and goes under.  
He reaches her in record time with all the strength he can muster,
Expertly positioning her on her back with her face above water.
Wasting no time or effort he makes his way back to shore,
As more and more people gather to cheer on the savior.  
He gives CPR - after several coughs, water clears lungs, a life is not lost.
As if on cue, the rescue team arrives, transporting her to hospital. 
Extremely grateful parents and the city honor him as a hero.

So what say you?  Is such a man deserving of honor?
How would the parents react If they knew the rest of the story?
Especially since he was the lifeguard assigned to beach patrol!

Now, friends, after considering all of this fuss,
The question bears asking, what about us?
Are we making sure of more important things,
Or are we busy building castles in the sand?

Copyright © | Year Posted 2018

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Date: 11/15/2018 3:04:00 PM
Mark, The question you ask at the end of your poem is a great one in our age of distraction. Thank you for keeping your eye on what is important!
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Mark Toney
Date: 11/16/2018 11:17:00 PM
You are very welcome, David. Thank you for your perceptive comment :)
Date: 6/15/2018 5:37:00 AM
Really great poem!! Made me think how I prioritize things in my life........ Loved reading it.
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Mark Toney
Date: 6/15/2018 9:58:00 AM
Jenifer, that's what I was going for. I'm glad it worked. :) I appreciate your taking the time to read both of my longest poems, then following through to encourage me too.
Date: 6/15/2018 1:28:00 AM
Easy to say what someone else should be doing all the while we build our own sandcastles and neglect our own duties. We never seem to have time when actually we chose how we spend our time. At first I thought this too exaggerated but really it is clever how you did this. Great short story!
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Mark Toney
Date: 6/15/2018 9:54:00 AM
Susan, I appreciate the candor and depth of your comment. And your exclamation is icing on the cake! :) Thank you for taking the time.
Date: 6/15/2018 1:09:00 AM
Really beautifully written . Makes a person think and question their own lives and what they are doing and where they really want to be. Very nice poem
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Mark Toney
Date: 6/15/2018 9:51:00 AM
Maxie, thank you for your kind, gracious comment. I am so glad you enjoyed it.
Date: 6/14/2018 6:02:00 PM
Some kinda story :)
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Mark Toney
Date: 6/14/2018 7:48:00 PM
Debbie, your stopping by is some kinda wonderful :) Thanks for taking the time.
Date: 5/24/2018 9:50:00 PM
this one is tricky !
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Mark Toney
Date: 5/24/2018 9:53:00 PM
LOL -Thanks, Ulamila :)
Date: 5/24/2018 7:20:00 AM
Now that we know the rest of the story, I'm irritated with that so-called hero, of course. It was clever the way you tricked us into wondering what was going to happen, expecting the worst, then giving us the second worst. Clever not to give us all of the details too soon. A clever poem, Mark.
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Mark Toney
Date: 5/24/2018 9:14:00 AM
That was what I was hoping to achieve. I appreciate your encouraging feedback, Caren.