2010 Poetry Challenge

National Poetry Month

Peter Willowdown

Caravans of Pyramided Night

Caravans of Pyramided Night,
we follow the Black River
but the Black River has long since run dry;
once we had reasons
but now we no longer ask why...
The natives look at us askance
and make the sign of the Evil Eye;
they think we are ghosts
- perhaps they are right.
Long ago, it is said, gods walked
in the dunes; ibis and crocodile
headed immortals that sometimes came to Earth
to instruct men in their ways
or consort with beautiful women.
A goddess there was too,
that sometimes had the appearence of a cat.
Men say she was adept in many pleasures
but that if offended, her claws
were very sharp...

Caravans of Pyramided Night,
we have passed beneath too many moons
and strange stars have etched
their shadows upon our souls.
Once we had families, brothers,
wives, children,
now we are nameless,
scarcely looking backwards or forwards,
forever marching through the sand
in quest of we know not what...
simple cessation of thought perhaps or the lack of any other course to follow.
All we eat and drink is covered with dust;
we breathe dust in and when we sleep at night
dust infiltrates and smothers our dreams
blurring all their details
as the dunes of the desert have blurred
and covered up civilisations so innumerable
that even the arabs and bedouin
no longer remember them.

Caravans of Pyramided Night,
we traverse the streets and highways
of the world; listen carefully
and you may hear the soft footfalls
of our camels hooves as we pass down
the thoroughfares of London, Paris,
Leipzig and St. Petersburg,
folowing the Black River
where it runs through the hours and days
of what the living still call time,
though the Black River has long since run dry
and all its velvet wine has turned to dust...

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