Oasis

July 20, 2012

To the camels, the desert might be their eye’s kin.
All those un-scribed lines they see
could be a tiny oasis, a place
to wait for a sudden aroma,
a mirage, perhaps, of vigor and strength…

But there are scents they can sense in the sand,
even when nothing is reflected,
even as they lower their long necks
to drink from pools of blood,
scents so perfumed, so peaceful.

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4 Responses to “Oasis”

  1. Thomas Davis Says:

    Blood is a powerful word, Jim. It is what makes our life possible, of course, but spilled blood is an image that makes us recoil, a pool of blood does that too, but in this poem the pool of blood is associated with perfumed and peaceful scents in the camels’ nostrils.
    I do not really read this as a love poem, but as a poem that says there is something beyond that which we can easily see.
    To the camels, the desert might be their eye’s kin.
    There is much hidden in the expanse of sands beside sand dunes and dryness. This hidden world is akin to the camel’s eye.
    All those un-scribed lines they see
    could be a tiny oasis, a place
    to wait for a sudden aroma,
    a mirage, perhaps, of vigor and strength…
    The unwritten lines in the camel’s eye could be several things: oasis, aroma, a mirage of vigor and strength.
    The idea of vigor and strength is a mirage is especially powerful. I see a relationship to The Waters in this line in that youth has vigor and strength, but in old age the vigor and strength looks like it was a mirage, a shining on the desert that is not really within the human frame.
    But there are scents they can sense in the sand,
    even when nothing is reflected…
    These, at least to me, are powerful lines. There are scents in sand that are beyond detection by the five scenes. Perhaps camels can sense them. Sand in this case seems to me to be a metaphor for time and the camels a metaphor for the ability to walk across the sands of time, scenting what time is beyond its obvious passage. I cannot tell you, Jim, how complicated those thoughts become in my head.
    The waters have come clear to my soul.
    I have sunk into the abyss of deep waters.
    Then the lines,
    even as they lower their long necks
    to drink from pools of blood,
    Blood is obviously a metaphor here. After reading this poem over and over again, blood is the fluid of life, so the camels are drinking from the fluid of life–not water, but the hidden pools inside all of life, perhaps, leading to
    scents so perfumed, so peaceful.
    This last line sings of acceptance of time, at least in my reading, Jim. It sings of the hidden glories that camels can sense in a place that seems barren, but is not–that is related to all of life and the blood of life, the river of life that is a metaphor inside the idea of blood.
    As with so many of your poems I seem to sink into an abyss as I read them and worry over them and finally come out to at least a glimmer of understanding. As John says, you are imaginative and bold.

  2. extrasimile Says:

    Thomas, I have an idea. Try reading this poem in conjunction with/ as a response to your poem ‘The Waters’. I’d definitely be interested in hearing your thoughts on the two together. (And, it happens to be true. I did write it with your poem in mind.)

  3. John Stevens Says:

    Such an interesting subject, Jim. I can see those lines in the desert – perhaps quivering in the heat – oasis or mirage. What those scents might be, I don’t know at all – both perfumed and peaceful. And are the scents an illusion or reality?
    Strengths … sense … scents … pools …perfumed … peaceful.. I think you have been following the music of the words maybe.
    But you leave a strong sense of the desert, and of mystery.

  4. Thomas Davis Says:

    Jim, I am working on this one. I’m okay up until the next to the last line, and then, as usual, you send my head spinning. I’ll be back. I’ve only gone through it three times. Maybe the fourth will trigger understanding.


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