Aesthetic Realism Online Library Poetry by Ellen Reiss


    “The Shadows, Black” is about two different aspects of the world: an Arabian desert and New York, with its skyscrapers. The poem says that these two are of each other, inseparable—as a person needs to see different aspects of herself as the same person. —Ellen Reiss


    The Shadows, Black

    The shadows, dark, stretched across the desert sand,
    Shadow-deep, shadow-thin,
    Have the profundity of New York skyscrapers
    Reaching toward blue.
    A camel moves, pale against the large sun;
    Feels the pulsing of the desert in his legs
    Longs to curl up, puppy-like, beside a great tree:
    He has known this life of winding caravans,
    Of dark men shaded by white cloth.
    The sand is grey now, the sun purely white,
    The shadows black.
    The camel drops his eyelids, trembles,
    Remembering metal buildings soaked in rain,
    The pounding of water on wide, dusty streets,
    And he hears the tinkling of small bells echo over miles
            of sand
    Made lovely by shadows.

© by Ellen Reiss

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