Merzuga, Sahara


The early dawn lays over Merzuga's oasis

like a grey velvet blanket.

                                                 It muffles all sounds and wraps my body

                                                                                                gently in its soft veil.


 The full moon descends delicately over the distant mountains;

                                   its ethereal light illuminating the humble sand-brick dwellings

                                                                                                    of the village.


The Sahara's dunes rise toward me,

          out of the dark palm groves that border the flatlands,                   

                      and flow endlessly toward  the sun's approaching entrance.

As I turn to meet the sunrise,

                                 my bare feet step onto virgin ripples

                                                           new-formed by the night wind.


The sand under foot is at first hard,

                            then soft as my weight presses into

                                                 the silken layer beneath,

                                                                       still cold with the night's passing.


The creeping dawn reveals other tracks across the sand besides my own,

                    earlier creatures

                            who have hurried by

                                    on their nightly business

                                            under the safe protection

                                                    of the starry Saharan canopy:




                                                                                                        Where are they now?

I sit at the crest of the tallest dune

        and wrap my veil around my knees

                waiting for the edge of the sun

                        to cleave into the desert

                                like a fiery hot scimitar.


The blade of daybreak cuts across the horizon

                      and the grey velvet gives way to dawn

                                                       turning the undulating dunes blood red

                                                                                       as it oozes toward me.

             Snake-like shadows slither and shrink away

                                             to hidden lairs beneath the sand

                                                                 as the sun climbs higher and higher

                                                                                         transforming the soft night

                                                                                                                          into hard day.


Photos and Words by Bahira

A Visit to Morocco, 1987