Have you ever seen a mirage? The oases of our lives take many different forms. Sometimes, they are the manifestations of our dreams. Other times, they are the victory of everyday life. Occasionally, they are respite from the tasks at which we toil.
Mantra was fascinated by the task of a camel charged with carrying a prince across the desert to an oasis. She is like any other camel carrying royal cargo across the hot sand. As you read about her journey, think about who she is and who she carries. See if you can see the relationship between them in your own life.
Desert is a journey in a place where we may not be willing to vacation.
Across the sands of time she strides.
Sun pouring over her, a cascade of heat.
The oasis is off in the distance.
How long since she’s had a drink?
Atop her a bejeweled litter rides.
She carries special cargo for trade.
“So special the one must be
To warrant such a long trip,” she thinks.
Beneath her toes the sand deceptively
pretends its grains are snowflakes
spread into drifts by the whipping wind.
“Is the oasis moving away?”
To quench her thirst she steps quickly.
The litter pitches on her sway’s crest.
From inside a young man falls to the sand.
He sputters, looks at the sky, begging, “Why today?”
His robe flows freely, sparkling in the sun.
He kicks it away as she kneels down.
As he climbs back inside, she nips at his sleeve.
Scolding her, “Get us there. We shall both drink.”
He points toward the western horizon.
She follows his arm and sees the oasis,
Further away than before he fell.
Trying to stand in the dune, her feet sink.
She begins to panic, but gets on her way.
She must be tired to see the oasis move.
From inside the litter a whip cracks
Across her neck. She cringes beneath it.
What did she do to make him act this way?
Inside the litter, he kneels with his knees
Sharp against her hump, reverent to pray.
How long since she’d heard a prayer?
“Bring me swiftly to this end of my days.
Let me rest in shade beside cool water.”
She realized only then, she’d walk for eternity.
For a mere camel could never take him there.
(c) Red Dwyer
Where (or what) is the desert? What does his cruelty symbolize? If the camel were a person, who would she be?
(c) Red Dwyer 2012
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