As I walked around its edges

studying the crystal depths

the question haunted me

‘Was this really an oasis?'


It was, for sure

bright, dazzling, enchanting

winking in the sun like cut glass

blinding in its reflection


Skin dried, parched, wasted

like a child, I had crawled

walked, run to it

basked in its waters

revelled in its showers

splashed, jumped, gambolled

thrown handfuls to the skies

a deprived castaway

finally sighting his ship home.


And yet,

deep inside,

thirst remained…


Acclimatised, accustomed

I now considered closely its properties:

intransigent, immovable

to be enjoyed on its terms

no filling my pockets with these waters

no onward journey

dry land, quick sand

slipping through my fingers

coursing away, away

with all the certainty of an hour glass

leaving empty hand




Somewhere beyond the desert

life teemed,


the refuse to refuge

of cracked cardboard city

sourced from mountains

of a different nature

A world where toothless children

foraged, clambered, climbed

and wasted women washed

in scum sluiced streams

where water flowed away

life imperfect, everyday, in everyway

but real.


The road ahead stretched, dry, barren

haunted by the ghosts of mirage past

no star to guide my way

no gifts of gold, frankincense or myrrh

just one skin, one life

and all the sand in the world.




◄ WOLOP for November

Write Out Loud Outstanding Poems for December ►


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Steve Regan

Thu 14th Jan 2010 17:16

I almost lived the experience of this as I read it, Isobel. I wanted to throw "handfuls to the skies".

And, yes, water is to be "enjoyed on its own terms", being both vital for life and capable of killing it.

I liked the descriptions and the disturbing contrasts drawn.

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Cynthia Buell Thomas

Tue 5th Jan 2010 09:57

Don't know how I missed this, Isobel. Absolutely terrific. I love it when you bite deep into the apple of your mind.

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John Aikman

Fri 1st Jan 2010 09:18

Bright, dazzling and enchanting indeed!

: )


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Andy N

Thu 31st Dec 2009 13:54

One of your favourite pieces for me that I have read off us.. It really sings out to me - beauitful! Keep it up!

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Thu 31st Dec 2009 09:48

Came back and read it several more times. Top Poem



<Deleted User> (7164)

Wed 30th Dec 2009 13:00

You've captured the element of ''all is not as it seems.''

Well done, i got lost inside your poem like a reverie which made me read it again in case i'd missed something. Very clever.


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Tue 29th Dec 2009 23:30

Absolutely fantastic. This poem is a real gem, a credit to you. Nice work isobel. I wish i could write as flowingly as this. Just brilliant.



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Rachel McGladdery

Tue 29th Dec 2009 21:51

Oh Isobel, this was lovely. I am struck dumb when I find a poem I find beautiful and touching (like I did with this) I don't have the vocabulary to do it justice....someone send me an online litcrit kit quick. It made me go 'ahhhh' (in a good way.)

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Dave Bradley

Tue 29th Dec 2009 21:48

I really like this Izz and would agree with comments by the others. The structure and word selection do a great job of creating a reflective mood. I like the way that universal themes such as our desert experiences and feelings that life is elsewhere are handled so delicately. Do keep experimenting - there is more to come.

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Tue 29th Dec 2009 20:14

Yep - would agree that it sounds better so I've changed it - though children can be toothless for a whole host of reasons but bad toothed for only one. Thanks for commenting. It is an odd piece with more than a few bumps but it was just a reflection of how I was feeling for a moment of time and I wanted to place it somewhere. xx

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Gus Jonsson

Tue 29th Dec 2009 20:02

Hi Iso

Would have gone for toothless... instead of
A world where bad toothed children

It's easier on the eye and reads well the former sounds just a wee bitte clumsy...

Just my opinion,...Sound message...good read.

Hope to CU in new year..

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Patricia and Stefan Wilde

Tue 29th Dec 2009 19:51

hi Izzy-agree with all afore mentioned-totally! but oh to see you gambolling-in my direction! well,a man can dream can he not? lol-Stef

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Cate Greenlees

Tue 29th Dec 2009 19:11

I agree with Francine, a message of hope to herald in the New Year! Whats done is done. Whats past is past. Lets get on with making footprints in that ocean of sand. This my motto!! Love this Isobel.
Cate xx

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