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A Spiritual Journey

 

I

 

Sahara, Sahara,

empty, vast, untamable Sahara!

While your waving dunes evoke an ocean rolling

to some unknown shore, a giant nothingness

defines your deadly, desert plains.

 

II

 

From the valleys of the Nile way east

towards the far Atlantic coast, and from

the Atlas Mountains in the north, stretches your immense

domain, encroaching on the dry Sahel and sparse 

Sudan savannas further south.

 

III

 

Aided by a scorching sun

and drought, unbearable, your fingers

spread in tongues of streaming fire. Perhaps never

will you return what lands you’ve seized and added

to your arid, desolate realm.

 

IV

 

Who knows how many empires

once were trampled here beneath your stride?

You’ve been relentless, and your heat is still a cruel hell,

for even Death is crawling wasted on your parched,

deserted lap . . . alone!

 

V

 

Yet far away some caravans

emerge . . .  Slow, like pilgrims from the past, tracking

age-old routes, they come and go across your shifting soil

to find perhaps a short-lived respite, mere mirage,

or steady goal . . .

 

VI

 

Saharan sandstorms loom.

Who is wailing, yearning in the desert there and barely

stumbling forward? How long will he stay blinded by

a force unseen where sunlight hasn’t pierced

as yet his soul?

 

VII

 

Caravans, caravans

braving horror, loneliness, and death,

a haven lies ahead of you, if not a perfect

paradise, shimmering like some far-off island calling

in a desert sea.

 

VIII

 

Oasis, oasis,

splendid, green and lush oasis!

Beyond the gulfs of thirst in the Sahara, you beam

forever in a trembling drop of hope before the loving,

outspread arms of God . . .

 

IX

 

Paradise, Paradise,

sacred, newfound Paradise;

eternal source of youth and immortality!

One day I knelt before your well, and ages fell away

and sank into the sand.

 

X

 

Precious water, precious life,

gleaming in this fine oasis like some

brilliant diamond encased. The thirst that seemed

unquenchable is quenched at last, and Heaven rests

reflected on your face.

 

XI

 

I’ve seen the desert changing

through the years, and as I pause with outspread arms

in my oasis, all the hopeless,

erstwhile nothingness once surrounding my existence

rolls now far away . . .

 

The Sahara

Image by Greg Montani from Pixabay