He Had the Eyes of a Poet

Wilfred Thesiger (author of the book self is currently reading, Arabian Sands) has a magnificent eye for the vivid and telling detail. He undertook his journey of an area known as “the Empty Quarter” — “four hundred waterless miles” — in 1946 or 1947; self is very struck by the fact that not once during his extensive travels does anyone he encounters make so much as a mention of the war just ended. Here is his description of the scene around “the well at Manwakh” (in the area of modern-day Yemen) :

They said we could use their gear for watering. The man rode a camel loaded with great coils of rope, with pulleys, well-buckets, rolled-up water-skins, and a large watering-trough fashioned from skins stretched over a framework of wooden hoops. His son rode bareback on one of seven camels, and a woman and two small children drove a herd of goats. Others, too, were going down to the water. It was six miles away and we took two hours to get there. When we arrived there was already a crowd round the well mouth. Men and women drew on the ropes together, singing as they pulled, hand over hand. On each rope, as one bucket jerked up from the dark depths, slopping water down the glistening walls, another descended empty. Each clammy, dripping leather bucket was seized as it reached the scaffolding, and hastily tipped into a trough, round which moaning camels jostled in haste to quench their thirst. Rows of bulging black skins lay upon the sand, guarded from the trampling feet of men and beasts by shrill-voiced children. Camels were watered, couched, and later driven away; others arrived, breaking into a shuffling trot as they approached; colts frisked, stiff-legged, around their dams; men shouted with harsh voices to watchful, darting herdsboys; goats bleated, camels roared, the singing at the well-head rose and fell, the sun climbed higher, and the dark stain of spilt water spread farther across the ground.

— Wilfred Thesiger, Arabian Sands, pp. 218- 219

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Ohm Sweet Ohm

Adventures in life from the Sunshine State to the Golden Gate

nancy merrill photography

capturing memories one moment at a time

Asian Cultural Experience

Preserving the history and legacy of Salinas Chinatown

Rantings Of A Third Kind

The Blog about everything and nothing and it's all done in the best possible taste!

Sauce Box

Never get lost in the Sauce

GK Dutta

Be One... Make One...

Cee's Photo Challenges

Teaching the art of composition for photography.

Fashion Not Fear

Fueling fearlessness through style and inspiration.

Wanderlust and Wonderment

My writing and photo journey of inspiration and discovery

transcribingmemory

Decades of her words.

John Oliver Mason

Observations about my life and the world around me.

Insanity at its best!

Yousuf Bawany's Blog

litadoolan

Any old world uncovered by new writing

unbolt me

the literary asylum

the contemporary small press

A site for small presses, writers, poets & readers

The 100 Greatest Books Challenge

A journey from one end of the bookshelf to the other

Random Storyteller

A crazy quilt of poems, stories, and humor

%d bloggers like this: