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The Grains of Sand Challenge

Let's explore the world of the tiny, but mighty particles through poetry, stories, and personal essays

By Cendrine MarrouatPublished 7 months ago Updated 7 months ago 4 min read
Photo credit: Cendrine Marrouat -

After publishing my response to Judey Kalchik's excellent 100 Things in 20 Minutes Challenge, I started thinking of creating my own challenge.

I wanted to focus on something different from what I had seen before. I also wanted it to be fun.

While looking at old photos in my archives, I realized that sand was a recurrent subject. It is also the topic of one of my all-time favorite songs: Two of Us by Supertramp. Finally, some of my greatest memories are associated with beaches or the desert. (I saw quite a bit of it in Syria. It is full of invisible life over there!)

So, there, you have it. The theme of this challenge is Grains of sand.

In this challenge, I invite you to explore the world of the tiny, but mighty particles through poetry, flash fiction, short stories, and personal essays. You can write from the perspective of the grains themselves; explore their journeys, secrets, and/or roles as landscape shapers; describe how they make you feel through sensory language; or just use them as elements in your narrative. The sky's (literally) the limit.

To get your creative juices flowing, I am including Supertramp's song below. The lyrics are beautiful and always move me greatly.

A few ground rules:

  • When your poem, story, or essay is available on Vocal, leave a comment and a link below, so I can read your work. I will promote my favorite submissions in a future post.
  • Please, make sure that you engage with all the Vocal creators who share their links. I want this to be a rewarding experience for everyone.
  • Do not forget to mention this prompt in your Vocal story, so others can find it and participate.
  • Last but not least: If you feel like challenging yourself even more, I recommend trying one of my poetry forms or the Flashku!

And now, here is my response to the challenge. I picked the poem that I had written after returning from Syria. I feel that it captures the resilience and beauty of sand really well. It is also one of my favorite poems among all those I have written.

Grains of Sand

Have you ever looked beyond

The dusty road ahead?

The heart, on the brim of tears,

Awaits the echoes of concealed essence.

A few more steps

And the eternity of yesterday

Will sing for the children of today.

But before you keep walking,

You must touch the grains of sand.

No, this is not a dream.

Silence's story compels you—

You have been here before.

You have been here before,

A member of this land,

A part of the kinship,

A walker of the Earth.

When nothing but perfect embrace

Of soul and nature was found in structure.

Do you recognize this homeland of yours now?

Into the desert, the perfect place,

Where harmony meets the wind,

Where spirits still laugh and dance,

Where emptiness is true presence.

Into the desert, the ecstasy,

When truth does set us free,

When death brings life back,

When the vessel of knowledge

Is contained in a grain of sand.

Into the desert, naked and free.

Into the desert, utterly complete.

Into the desert, reconnecting with layers

Of meaningful refulgence.

Now, the songs can start!

© 2010 Cendrine Marrouat

The photo at the beginning of the post is a view of Resafa (a.k.a. Sergiopolis), in Syria. For more information about the place, feel free to check out the post below.

That's it for today! I can't wait to read your work!


Cendrine Marrouat is a writer, photographer, podcaster, blogger, anthology editor, and the co-founder of Auroras & Blossoms and A Warm Cup of Cozy. She has authored and co-authored more than 40 books, including The Train: A Short Story (2023), In Her Own Words: A Collection of Short Stories & Flashku (2022), After the Fires of Day: Haiku Inspired by Kahlil Gibran & Alphonse de Lamartine (2021), Rhythm Flourishing: A Collection of Kindku and Sixku (2020), Walks: A Collection of Haiku (2019-2020), and In the Silence of Words: A Three-Act Play (2018).

Cendrine's work has appeared in many publications. She is the creator of the Sixku, Flashku, Sepigram, and Reminigram; as well as the co-creator of the Kindku, Pareiku, Vardhaku, and Hemingku.



About the Creator

Cendrine Marrouat

Writer & Author⎜Photographer⎜Artist⎜Co-founder of Auroras & Blossoms / A Warm Mug of Cozy⎜(Co-)creator of literary forms

"The Train: A Short Story" is out!



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Comments (24)

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  • Ashley Lima7 months ago :-)

  • Grz Colm7 months ago

    Liked your poem in this piece Cendrine and what a nice idea! I just read Judey’s but didn’t know about this challenge. I’m honestly not good with coming up with creative writing on the spot, but I fondly remember writing a poem about sand and the desert from year 8 english in school many, many years ago. Wish I could locate that! 😊

  • Absolutely Fantastic ❤️💯👍😉📝❗

  • Judey Kalchik 7 months ago

    It took me a while, but here is my entry!

  • Naomi Gold7 months ago

    I ended up just having a haiku come to me after my original idea wasn’t working.

  • Mackenzie Davis7 months ago Why not another? 🙃🤷‍♀️

  • Novel Allen7 months ago

    So much here to absorb. That was a great poem. Will hopefully submit an entry soon.

  • Mackenzie Davis7 months ago

    Cendrine, I feel so bull-headed! I think I posted my story "The Path to Sand" the same day you posted this challenge, and it didn't occur to me until right now that I could enter it. 🤦🏻‍♀️ Anyway. Here it is, lol. Is there a limit to how many we can enter?

  • Naomi Gold7 months ago

    Wow, I have seen some great stories and poems for this challenge, but your poem is my favorite. I think you’ve inspired people with more than just the prompt. Is there a deadline for this? I’d like to play along, but I have a personal essay in mind. Might take me a few days, unlike my poems that flow out.

  • Emma Kate Coleman7 months ago

    This was so fun, Cendrine! Thanks for the challenge! Here's my response: I combined all of my sandy memories into a short story. Enjoy!

  • Dana Crandell7 months ago

    Thanks for the prompt, Cendrine! It turned out to be a good opportunity to write one for the grandkids:

  • Suze Kay7 months ago

    Happy circumstances! A poem that I wrote while mulling over the prompt, which surprised me in fitting well.

  • Babs Iverson7 months ago

    Hot off the press, here is

  • I didn’t know about this challenge, but wrote this and your challenge was brought to my attention. I hope it’s ok to enter

  • Veronica Coldiron7 months ago

    Great poem!! This took me back to my childhood. We had a giant sandpit that we played in every day. Loved this!! I may write a story about it now. 😉

  • Love your poem and already have an idea for a visual poem so will share that and link it when I publish it, Hopefully this will be a Top Srory and get more responses

  • Babs Iverson7 months ago

    Delicate and dreamy!!! Reminding of my travels in Egypr, we trecked through the desert sands on Camel. This was empowering and motivational!!!❤️❤️💕

  • Lamar Wiggins7 months ago

    Interesting challenge. And I lioved the flow and content of your poem entry. Thanks for sharing.

  • Cathy holmes7 months ago

    This is a great challenge, and your poem is just divine. I'll be back.

  • Matthew Fromm7 months ago

    Great prompt! My submission here: I wanted to explore one of history's most famous failures in piercing the desert. Enjoy!

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