In the Sandbox

For L & S

Sand sifting through
and over your fingers:
that is power enough,
for you know that to build

is to be divine
in this small world.
By your spoon and single
truck, you are deified,

as deliberate as—or more
than—those kings of old
Mesopotamia steering
their kingdoms of clay.

~ ~ ~

Scoop and dump, you whisper,
and you scoop, and dump,
and down roll the spheres,
countless tumbled grains

of primeval stuff: cold clay;
quartz; volcanic black
basalt torn up from
earth’s heart; they all fall

at your feet, side by side
with limestone from lost seas,
the pale, crushed tomb
of some ancient water-life.

~ ~ ~

Child’s-play: the saying is
it’s easy. Sure, as easy as
creation, but no easier.
Easy as invention, generation;

easy as mothering, stewarding,
constructing, irrigating;
hunting, fishing, planting,
reaping; easy as persuasion,

bartering, marshalling
and dispersing; easy
as peace, but more difficult
by far than war.

~ ~ ~

You scoop, and dump.
You raise towers, not quite
to heaven, but to its toes.
Your task is great,

and the small shovel quakes.
The sand dances on the rim,
held only by the imperious gravity
of your young face, dancing

on the rim of being, even as meteors
ring this grave world, itself only a grain
tipped long ago and falling still
from a bright and innocent cup.

J.C. Scharl

J. C. Scharl is a poet, essayist, and playwright. She serves as a senior editor for The European Conservative. Her work has appeared on the BBC and in The New Ohio Review, The American Journal of Poetry, The Hopkins Review, Plough Quarterly, The Lamp, Classical Outlook, and many other journals. She lives near Detroit with her husband and children.

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