My crown was only ever a smoke ring
My scepter only a mop handle
My kingdom ranged from the near horizon
To the mountains of lost dreams.
My palace was built of whispered prayers
More fragile than thought
And broken by anything stronger than an idea.
I drank the bitter nectar
And ate the words of poems.
My cloak was made of gossamer webs and ash.
And I was a king.
My people were only ever the shadows of my mind.
My throne was a birch tree’s branches
Unfolded to the sky.
My treasury was empty, but I thought myself rich.
The cathedrals that I built were hollow and unlit.
My sunlight was only a lamp
With a flickering, dying bulb.
My flowers were pages torn from a book,
A book I should have written
A poem I should have read.
And I was a king.
It is hard to build bridges with rotten wood,
Hard to sing songs with broken words,
Hard to love when love has left the land.
And my kingdom is forever shrouded in rain clouds,
And my roads are rivers of churned mud,
And I must have left my heart somewhere
Somewhere between the near horizon
And the mountains of lost dreams.
I used a leaden heart for a while
Because I was a king.
My heart beat amid the tea leaves,
My foot skipped amid the mud.
No rain could wash away the tears,
But my ocean was filled with lime juice
That my scepter could never clean.
My throne was covered in moss,
Wet and thick and green.
My people gazed silently, then turned and fled
Before my sun, though the sun was dead.
And though I clung, my crown disappeared.
But I was still a king.
About the Author & Work
From San Antonio, TX
October 25, 2011
How did it feel to write this piece? It felt easy. That is, the words came easily. But it made me realize that I am the speaker, as all writers are the speaker. We are kings of our worlds, building castles in the air – but castles built of moonbeams are never meant to last. Out worlds are imperfect and flawed; though we are kings, we have no wealth and very few of us actually have the love of their people. I felt like an exiled king still clinging to my crown, still trying to control the world I have created. I should have known long ago that I was no king, but I think that I shall return to that world for a little bit longer. My heart is still lost there, and I need to get it back. Yes, I will go back into the words to search for something I did not know that I had lost until this poem reflected the shattered remains of my dream.
Submission Type: Poem
Category & Place: Written, 2nd Place