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Many Years Later

Aug 24, 2019 | Poetry

Many years ago,

at the water’s edge, I played this game with my son.

Between waves, we built an ancient land.

I showed my boy the people in a town

on their way to schools and shops and ancient temples.

We saw the fields, where they farmed and raised their animals.

We watched them study in libraries and in giant markets where they

shared their crops.

We watched them eat in small homes and celebrate in great halls.

We saw them love and learn.

We saw them laugh.

Often they marveled along the water’s edge.

In their modern city they saw a beautiful sun

rise and set.


We did all of this,

my son and I

in only a few moments.

Our understanding was that seconds represented centuries.

The time between waves, you see,

was compressed into many years.

Once a wave receded, a civilization flourished

but as the next wave approached,

the same civilization was in decline.

Within a few more seconds or so,

frothing water destroyed our creation,

a massive tsunami leveling everything in its path.


An empire was gone.

Society was cleansed,

leaving behind fertile land,

smooth as glass,

for others to start all over again.

Future generations, began anew,

and with their hopes and dreams

they built over the remnants of their ancestors.


We watched these waves together,

my son and I,

and every time we rebuilt the land,

civilizations on top of civilizations,

for as long as my boy was willing to play the game.


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© Richie Smith 

© Richie Smith