Read Poem: Egypt’s Shifting Sands by Helen Whitten

I’ve stood in Tahrir Square,
felt the dusty heat,
done deals on street corners
with scruffy boys
adept at currency arithmetic,
seen the Pyramids at sunset
after the inevitable visit to a papyrus shop,

taken a horse
into the desolate desert at dusk,
just me and a stranger,
hoof meeting sand at speed,
watched a solitary camel rider leering up
like a mirage from the tombs,
grabbing at my reins,
his smile lecherous as a snake.
The Sphinx watched it all.

And Tahrir Square that spring
was full of banners,
no Pharoah there,
no Rameses nor Akhenaton,
just families gathering,
and a herd of colts
kicking their heels,
booting out the old folk.

Danton and Havel
on ghostly watch
as a velvet wave upturns
the status quo along
the banks of the glittering Nile,
centuries of despotic old men’s decrees
unravelling like papyrus
from Tunisia to Syria.

Today, parched bones of camels
lie in dust hollows,
beside the looters’ tunnels,
where antiquities feed
a desperate generation
in the land where
few tourists go.
Horses stand in starving heat.
Young boys despair
of providing sustenance
for ailing parents or sisters,
as tombs are raided
and dynamited
below his feet.

Money changes hands
in the brotherhood of power,
A journalist risks her life
to tell the story,
as the cabal watch
and shoot at her car
to silence her.

What scrolls will be written
in the blood-red desert
of history’s graveyard
alongside the Pharoahs’ beasts
and treasures?
The Sphinx watches and waits.

About poetryfest

Submit your Poetry to the Festival. Three Options: 1) To post. 2) To have performed by an actor 3) To be made into a film.
This entry was posted in 2018 Poetry, new poetry, poet, poetry, Poetry Festival, Uncategorized and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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