Mirage

Poem By John Champion

He should never have allowed the stop at the oasis.
But his people were restless. It looked safe enough.
Another caravan was there.

But it was not safe.

That night, wandering between the lines of tents in the cool air,
amidst the shuffling of animals,
he saw something that he should not have seen,
Not after so long in the desert.

What conspired to let him catch sight of the princess?
And pass close enough to smell the faint fragrance of her skin?
To see her eyes shimmering like two dark fertile stars?

Such a thing was against the laws of Allah.
Now he believes but is already lost.

In search of him his people try diversions.
Music. Laughter. Intrigue - Nothing works.
Everywhere he sees her; senses her; thinks her.

He rides onward through the desert with his people; his things.
Everywhere around him he wants her immediate and impossible presence.
To take the place of his yearning.

Time has passed since the oasis,
His journey continues.
At night he is dazzled and bewildered by the stars in the sky.
Behind him the traces of his passage are tenderly smoothed away
by the shifting sand.


May/June2001

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