Friday, January 04, 2008


Twelfth Night
(The Song of the Camels)

Elizabeth Coatsworth

Not born to the forest are we,
Not born to the plain,
To the grass and the shadowed tree
And the splashing of rain.
Only the sand we know
And the cloudless sky,
The mirage and the deep-sunk well
And the stars on high.

To the sound of our bells we came
With huge soft stride,
Kings riding upon our backs
And slaves at our side,
Out of the east brought on
By a dream of a star,
Seeking the hills and the groves
Where the fixed towns are.

Our goal was no palace gate,
No temple of gold,
But a child in his mother's lap
In the cloudy cold.
The olives were windy and white,
Dust swirled through the town,
As all in their royal robes
Our masters knelt down.

Then back to the desert we paced
In our phantom state
And faded again in the sands
That are secret as fate--
Portents of glory and danger,
Our dark shadows lay
At the feet of the babe in the manger
And then drifted away...