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 sandcastle," 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?
5/23/2018 - Poetry form: Narrative - Copyright © Mark Toney | Year Posted 2018