Upon a vast and choppy sea
 The Promise braved the gale;
Her decks awash with angry waves,
 She flew with billowed sail.

My Captain fought the wayward wheel
 To clear the jagged reef
Where weaker ships with sailors past
 Lay torn on shoals of grief.

"Land ho!" I cried from high atop
 The swaying mizzen mast,
"Safe haven lies to starboard side
 Until this storm has passed!"

The Promise lurched and swung her bow,
 Her timbers groaned in pain;
She headed for a small atoll
 Half hidden in the rain.

There, between the breaking surf
 And reef of men's extremes,
I gazed ashore and first beheld
 The Land of Broken Dreams.

"I know this place," my Captain said,
 His face etched with concern,
"I've strolled the beach a million times
 And hiked it stem to stern.

"It's not a place for men like you
 Who sail among the stars,
But better left for those who weep
 And bleed from bloodless scars."

But deep within my reckless heart
 A thirst for knowledge surged
Which flowed up to my foolish tongue
 And through my lips emerged.

"I must explore this land, M’lord!
 Allow me, I implore."
"If you insist,"
my Captain sighed,
 "Prepare to row ashore."

Beyond the foamy caps of white
 And o’er the gleaming sand,
We strode together side by side
 Into that dismal land.

No sound of bird nor beast disturbed
 Our thoughts along the way;
The air was thick with swirling mists
 And reeked of foul decay.

"What a stench!" I pinched my nose.
 "M’lord, what could that be?"
"It is Regret,"
my Captain said,
 "O'er Dreams lost to the sea;

"For when a Dreamer never shares
 The hopes which lies within,
His aspirations drift away
 Before they can begin."

A distance on we came upon
 Some gaily-painted carts,
But scrutiny showed them to be
 Weighed down with broken hearts.

"How sad is this!" my soul cried out,
 "From whence are these hearts strewn?"
My Captain said, "These are the Dreams
 "Of those who loved too soon;

"Instead of waiting for true love
 To earn respect and trust,
These were seduced by mere romance
 And traded Dreams for lust."

The blazing sun and salty air
 Had left me parched with thirst;
I wandered to a nearby pool
 And took a drink, then cursed.

"This water is not fit to drink!"
 I spat with crude disdain.
"I quite agree," my Captain said,
 "That pool is filled with Pain.

"It flows from Dreams once cast aside
 By poverty or fears
And thus were drained of their desire
 And filled with bitter tears."

Beyond the pool we climbed a hill
 And spied on the plateau
Ten thousand cracked and empty jugs
 All standing in a row.

"What Dreams were kept in these, M’lord?
 And pray, where have they gone?"

My Captain said, "These once contained
 The Dreams that took too long.

"Impatience strained their earthen sides,
 Their walls split with Dismay,
And soon the treasures they held dear
 All slowly leaked away."

As darkness fell we started back,
 The chill of night drew nigh,
When overhead my eyes beheld
 A firestorm in the sky.

I quaked with fear, "What does this mean?
 "When will those flames subside?"

My Captain sadly shook his head,
 "They’re never satisfied;

"That blaze is kindled in men's hearts
 And burns with fervent heat–
It melts the joy from Dreams fulfilled
 With flames of vile conceit;

"Instead of praising what has come,
 Some scorch Dreams with rebuff
And like a bonfire in the night,
 They never burn enough."

Since that day I've walked the decks
 And tried to understand
The truth behind my Captain's words
 Shared in that hellish land.

But one small grain of wisdom learned
 From what I could perceive–
It's not enough to have a Dream…
 You also must believe.