Lament in the Shadow of Atlas
I wake upon an Amazigh night
Of music, dance and wine
To find a World removed by song
And drumbeats still, in time,
With hearts held high, in simple style,
Renewed in shared smiles.
There cooking slow in tangines, vast,
The echoes of a troubled past
That casts a shadow, faint, yet seen
But hard to read unless you grow
In parched brown hills
Where Arbor goats will climb
To feed above bright cloth
Wrapped tight to hide the female form,
So shy yet straight in gaze
With voice that issues challenge
To eyes so caught, to look away.
For they won’t give and who rules who
And who now should.
I searched the face and lost.
Then stood between the hill and sea
To ponder deep their ways and mine,
And reached a sharp and bitter end
That gave me thought and sowed confusion
In this, another time.
My soul does whisper and recognize
The smell of fire and starry skies
That now have gone the way of peace
To please the pocket.
So now we suffer wretched disease
Infecting all with no release from constant pain.
Yet have we gained from what we are
Or lost the heart within the land
In moving on. Condemned we stand.
Perhaps I’d rather be upon
The soft Saharan sand of simplicity
To watch for scorpion’s sting
And darkened eyes, alluring glance
With smoky sighs that beckon forth
The infidel from rigid form
To softened shade.
Squeeze the venom from my heart
To realise the truth not spurned,
A high price paid for toxic fumes,
Where consoles clutch at children’s dreams
As they consume tomorrow.
I’ll close my eyes on what has gone
From where I live,
For times move on.
But leave with me
Those scented sights,
So I may slumber deep
Within a smoky, Amazigh night.