A Grain of Sand

Boy making a sandcastle on turtle-back

Used by Permission of Artist Sath

Children dig sandcastles,
atop the swimming World Turtle,
until the tide smoothes the canvas.
Worlds change, drift out of time,
afloat currents ever moving
from ancient times, like thoughts,
like words or art, like life itself.
We swim in rainbow-hued oceans with the
World Turtle and sift ideas like sand.
Each sparkling grain holds a child’s song,
a collision of stars, a galaxy of possibility.
The oldest tree was born in prehistory.
Its innermost ring is the world’s oldest writing.
Its roots entwine eternity, holding it fast,
watching us blink in and out like candles.
Although we shed our light briefly,
we are part of the world’s ebb and flow,
and all things that come after
will find our sand, our songs, our stars
still living, infinite and immortal.

Copyright 2016 Brenda Davis Harsham

Notes: I reference William Blake’s famous quatrain:

“To see a World in a Grain of Sand 
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower, 
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand 
And Eternity in an hour.”
(Auguries of Innocence)

Resa Swork is devoting a month to kids at her site, Graffiti Lux and Murals. Her post, SOM-RIU, inspired this poem. Thanks to urban artist Sath, Aproscom Fundació and the Joan Mesquida Special Education Center, a school for people with intellectual disabilities located in Manacor (Mallorca). They are crowd funding a project to bring Sath from Thailand to teach students how to express themselves in murals and to make their environment a beautiful, living work of art. Elsewhere, Sath’s art frames the streets with vibrant humor and irreverence. The crowd funding project has less than a month remaining and has not quite gotten halfway to its goal of € 5.500.

Update: Sath‘s site is up and running. Apparently server trouble blocked access temporarily. I hope you can visit him.

Poetry Friday Badge

This post is my contribution to Poetry Friday, hosted thanks to Elizabeth Steinglass, a wonderful poet.

For the grammatically conscious in the crowd (or anal – I happen to be anal about grammar), I chose the verb tense spelling for “smoothes” without thinking it over, but then after reading and rereading so many times, it looked wrong. I looked it up, and apparently there’s quite a controversy. I attached the link to the word if grammar disputes are your cup of tea, but the short answer is that that spelling is in ascendency.

Have a magical weekend! Warmly, Brenda

53 thoughts on “A Grain of Sand

  1. Dearest Brenda,
    SATH sent me an email. He is very impressed, honored and moved by the poem. He asked me to pass this message on to you!
    I think he would let you write anything to any of his pieces. xoxo
    PS… I mentioned you could not get onto his website. He replied… Yes, there were server problems, but they are cleared up now!
    Much love to you! xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

      • Yay! I’ll pass that info onto Sath!
        It’s crazy Brenda, but I keep wanting to send you art… just in case you see something that inspires you.
        LOL… I have a 2 headed phoenix bird.. and on & on.
        Definitely will not post any fairies until you’ve seen them.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Wow. Your city must have awesome artists on every street corner. Feel free to send me stuff. I hope to get to the roses soon. I can’t promise to manage it all within your kids month, but I’m always happy to have new inspiration. Especially in the winter, when many of my own photos are studies in gray or brown. Your enthusiasm is wonderful. Maybe we should do a book. LOL XOXO


  2. The sands of time, the waves of water and the creatures of the world (including your “world turtle”) are all connected. This message makes me think of how children find small and tiny things special. Their focus is on “treasures” through their own eyes. I like the idea of a grain of sand holding a “child’s song,” within it. ♡

    Liked by 1 person

  3. “Each sparkling grain holds a child’s song, a collision of stars, a galaxy of possibility.” …Your poem is more than a worthy reflection on–(maybe an outtake of?) –William Blake’s famous quatrain. While my favorite line is “Each sparkling…,” the ending totally left me with goosebumps. Thank you for gracing PF with your ethereal offering. God bless you! So beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, my friend. Isn’t it amazing how people are still mulling over the same concepts that Blake was, all these years later? That is what the poet does, to contemplate the inexpressible, to find the connections and to articulate the confusion and wonder. That’s what I try to do.


  4. You’ve touched so many with this poem here this week, Brenda – and I’m with the crowd gushing over those couple of lines about the oldest tree. Much to ponder as life does not sit still. But we can, for some poem-moments, to contemplate it. Many thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Brenda, your poem is stunning. These lines are my favorites:
    “Each sparkling grain holds a child’s song,
    a collision of stars, a galaxy of possibility.
    The oldest tree was born in prehistory.
    Its innermost ring is the world’s oldest writing.
    Its roots entwine eternity, holding it fast,
    watching us blink in and out like candles.”

    Love the images of grains holding a child’s song, the rings of trees as the earth’s oldest writing, and us mortals blinking in and out like candles. As a fan of murals myself I followed the link to Sath’s blog. Oh my! Such cleverness. I especially like the ones that all but interact with the surroundings. He has great gifts, of humor as well as artistic skill.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, Sath is very talented and I love how he interacts with the environment, too. I was told by Resa that he was quite excited about his artwork being used to illustrate a poem. I hope he can stop by at some point. I’m glad you like my poem.


  6. This part was my favorite:

    Although we shed our light briefly,
    we are part of the world’s ebb and flow

    Good to remember, and to help us strive to add to the FLOW and not so much to the EBB.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. That was excellent and a beautiful view on the world. That while we live and die really quickly but the great stories echo through eternity…

    It makes me think how the human mind creates different realities around us, all our different ideas add meaning to a universe with no meaning, only cause and effect… I’m waffling now and so ill get off my musing train and say it was a lovely poem I enjoyed greatly.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It was a lovely compliment you paid me to stop and muse on my words. I’m honored and privileged. I agree also, that the only meaning in our own lives or in our view of the universe is what we create or adopt. We are always subject to the next epiphany, and it’s sad to think we are living without it now. Thanks for your kind words on my poem. XOXO

      Liked by 1 person

  8. “Each sparkling grain holds a child’s song,
    a collision of stars, a galaxy of possibility.
    The oldest tree was born in prehistory.
    Its innermost ring is the world’s oldest writing.
    Its roots entwine eternity, holding it fast,
    watching us blink in and out like candles.”

    What a beautiful and profound poem, Brenda. I’m reminded of how inconsequential our brief lives here on earth are, but feel a comforting sense of connection with all living things.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Jama,

      I found out my husband’s grandfather has passed away at 102, and he was a wonderful man. I loved him, too. I was ruminating about how short our days always seem, no matter the final count. I am comforted by the thought of our connection to each other, through words, written or otherwise. I will never forget certain things said to me, and I repeat those special things to my kids. Recently, I stopped and wondered if my parents heard those same things from their parents and perhaps further on back down the line. I think my theory makes sense, and provides me with some comfort for all the people I wished I’d had a chance to know.

      Thanks for seeing the underlying meaning in my words. It’s a wonderful prize beyond all others to be understood.

      Hugs, Brenda


      • So sorry to hear about your husband’s grandfather. What a good long life he lived! I immediately thought of my father, who’s 101! Each day he’s here is a blessing. Recently I’ve been also thinking a lot about my mom, who was 89 when she died 2 years ago. I still hear some of her wise words in my head, and now your poem has me wondering which of those things she heard from her own mother. Neverending circle of life, like tree rings or ripples on the water. Thank you again for your luminous poem, and please extend my condolences to your husband.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I will convey your sentiments to my hubby. We are all grateful we had his presence in our lives for so long. Wow, your dad is 101! It’s a wonderful thing to look ahead and expect a good long life for yourself. My dad is 78 and hale. For which I am grateful. I was thinking of the circle of life, too, but also that water never stops moving. Since its creation, the ocean has never stopped moving. That’s a powerful thought. Hugs to you and your bears. XOXO


  9. Brenda, I got shivers reading this beautiful piece. I’m tremendously impressed with this very special poem. Your generous nature combined with your obvious talent is a marvelous thing, thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Resa, I am so glad you like it! The artwork was very inspiring as was the research I did into the World Turtle, which is a concept in a lot of diverse cultures around the globe. I wanted to weave that in, but it didn’t pan out. Perhaps another poem, another day for that part. I wanted to focus on the color because of the delightful mural that was its inspiration. XOXO


  10. This is just lovely. It’s too hard to pick a special line when they are all special and all so connected. I love the ebb and flow of the whole thing. What a gorgeous image. Thank you for sharing your poem and the image and the artist’s story.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Elizabeth, I’m grinning ear to ear rereading your comment. Thanks for your lovely comment as well as for hosting! And thanks for letting us have access early because I was out on the go all day. Have a great weekend!


  11. Brenda, the image is full of vitality that inspired you to write a wonderful poem. While many thoughts resonate with me these lines stand out, We swim in rainbow-hued oceans with the
    World Turtle and sift ideas like sand.
    Off to sifting more idea today thanks to your inspiration.

    Liked by 1 person

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