It is Winter in the Wadi and no birds sing.
A low sun plates the desert floor with gold
but the dead air soon dulls it back to bronze.
Wild dogs bark along the escarpments
and Bedouins like ghosts drive caravans
of shadows homewards over the dunes.
In the camps the camels bawl and kick
at their halters and rams’ heads are craned
toward Mecca. Blood will spill and stain
the stones but no cries will carry in the still air.
Already the dark is down and a twilit calm
is choked by the chill smoke that coughs up
sacrifice and piety and ruin. I am alone here
on the old wall towers. The Adhan sounds
across the valley and men are on the move.
Now something else is stirring in my blood.I can feel the tug. I won't hold out much longer.