by Tessa Edwards
I fly intransigent
From a past ephemeral day
On a night flight to Paris.
Amongst the starry cosmos
We jet toward the Borealis.
And beneath lie fluid landscapes,
Crests, valleys and nipple hills.
A wild wasted wilderness, the sands
Of that desolate Eastern Erg
Emerging gold against the dawn.
Volcanic plugs pierce crystalline rock
Sand fingers, petrified trunks,
Still dark against the dawn.
Mysterious unfinished places,
In this strange Garden of Allah
With the blue cloaked Tuareg
And the wild colocynth melons
Ripening in coarse tangled leaves.
Bleached bones lie strewn jagged,
A necklace turned to dust.
I ask what traveller, voyager
Pilgrim, migrant, fortune hunter, pioneer
Roamed these Dali-esque dunescapes.
What Mozabite, Bedouin, Berber
Trod these crescent paths,
These seifs, this moonscape?
As camel caravans sail silently
‘Cross ochre seas to Agadez.
And vultures soar on thermals
Satanic black against the dawn.
Here, high above the banded altostratus
Ensconced in airless droning comfort
And safe from stinging sand
I know that my salvation lies
In edifice of structure, those monuments
To history, those bricks of occidental culture.
But I will miss the lonely splendour of
Desert, sea and mountain spaces
Now honey bathed against the dawn
On this night flight to Paris.