They Thought it was Stone, But it was Sand

March 24, 2015

(Some thoughts on the fall of a regime, by Kanya D’Almeida, Colombo, January 19, 2015)

They built their tower brick by brick,
They built a wall to stand,
They fortified it inch by inch,
They colonised the land.
They draped their home with trappings fine,
It was sturdy, great and grand
But now it lies in shambles—
We thought it was stone, but it was sand.

At every barracks day and night they bade their sentries stand
A knife and gun, with sword and spear, were held in every hand.
With fighter jets they placed their bets,
Cut quite a fearsome band,
But now they’re just a whisper—
We thought they were stone, but they were sand.

From all the mines and farms and seas
The island’s riches grabbed
And those who kicked and screamed
Were stoned, imprisoned, murdered, stabbed.
Fine men who once stood tall and proud,
Well now their shoulders sagged.
Those who once dared be outspoken
Were beaten, chained and gagged.
Our books and hopes and dreams were
Shredded, buried, broken, banned.
But now their grip has shattered—
We thought it was stone, but it was sand.

Where once a kingdom choked us
Now humble women stand,
A river of corruption
Is now silent, still and dammed.

There came a time when too much rot wouldn’t let that castle stand,
When a rushing tide of anger into the drawbridge slammed.
They built themselves a bunker, which in the end was breached.
They tried to touch the heavens but pearly gates could not be reached.
A fatal flaw, Achilles’ heel, for which they hadn’t planned
Their bloody, muddy empire—
They thought it was stone, but it was sand.