“Desert Loon”

“pale blue under a desert moon glows those moving beasts of burden…”

Desert Loon was born from my nostalgia for the desert. I coaxed my muse out of inertia this week (I have been under the weather) by first writing a musical piece that made me see the images to write the poem. This happens to me sometimes, where I need the music first to see clearly the imagery.  I invite you to click on the .mp3 link here to listen to it with my recitation. I will add the words to the poem in a comment not on the post, because I do encourage you to listen to it first, before you read it.  Close your eyes, and take a moonlight caravan ride, where strange sounds assault your imagination. Please click below to hear it and Enjoy!!
Desert Loon.mp3 by Karima Hoisan

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17 Responses to “Desert Loon”

  1. Here is the poem for you and I apologize for my slightly gravely voice, that has just come back after being rudely kidnapped by bronchitis:)
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Desert Loon

    Rhythmically…. rolling…. swaying from side to side…
    smoothly… slipping… slightly undulating… on top the saddles coarsely cinched and tied.
    Pale blue, under a desert moon glows those moving beasts of burden … thin albino hides.
    From miles away, the loon’s call comes on the wind…sad mournful bird of chilling night, whose call is not supposed to be heard…
    for no loons live on this hostile desert plain…nor have they ever… nor have they ever.
    All the camels arch their necks up high, and sniff the wind that brings this foreign sound.
    Every rider says a prayer that this is not a warner of some bad fate.

    The wind picks up its speed and brings the loon’s call mixed with blowing dust,
    a wall begins to block the moon light as it speeds across the sands.

    The loon, is maybe not a loon, and the riders begin to seek out each others eyes.
    Then wrapping their scarves around their faces tightly… tighter.
    They are heightened sensory breathing radars, processing a shattered midnight sky .

    The camels rolling restlessly, begin to make their sounds between a groan and bray,
    their harness bells slap on their necks, to the pushing pulling of the wind,
    the men’s skirts billow like flags tickling the camel’s sides.
    All eyes are scanning floor and sky, but their pace is steady.
    The loon’s unreal call, just like the threatening storm it warned, turns off sharply towards the east, and the caravan moves southward, never leaving once its course,
    and every man on top a beast says his own prayers of thanks for their survival,
    for their good fate that this time the desert loon was on their side.

    Karima Hoisan
    August 18th 2012
    Costa Rica

    • Alex says:

      Kari: Wonderfully evocative. You have captured the mood and the mystery beautifully. You also have a very cinematic quality going here, a sort of mind movie. I am trying to remember something I once read about loons..they have a special symbolism, I think. Haunting, evocative, brooding. Blessings, AJN

      • Alex, thank you for stopping by and I love your turn of phrase “mind movie” I guess that is what storytelling was always about..even way back then:)

  2. jan betts says:

    Ah Karima!! your Muse rises again… beautiful and yes, haunting… LOVE the music and the words transport us magically to the scene where we feel the mood and the call of the Loon is mysterious… love this one… the feeling it evokes is
    quite sensual and exotic.

    • Aww thank you Jan…yes the music was born from a feeling I had of trying to write something in that swaying hypnotic beat of an ambling camel..So glad you think I got it down well enough to transport you too for a few minutes:)

  3. Shesa Quandry says:

    Another masterpiece, Karima! The desert always evokes a sense of mystery and danger. Both are woven beautifully in your tale. The attention to the smallest detail, as you tell the story, make us believe we are there, with these travelers… seeing what they see… feeling what they feel… hearing… the faint but distinct loon’s shrill. Alex is right. I’ll bet Nat already pictures the scenery she needs to bring this story to life. The screenplay is so vividly told. Getting started so soon on next year’s UWA winner are we? *winks* From beautiful comes beauty, sweetheart! This one is all you. ;o)

    • Shesa…you are too kind:) blushes..but yes it’s a mood and I love you got into it..Haha your “challenge to Nat” might have to wait in the line forming of soo many ideas we have for films now, we can’t seem to focus on just one:) But this journey for me too was very visual..maybe in our heads this time..is enough:) Time will tell.Thank you sweet friend for your wonderful comment, Hugs

  4. Dale Innis says:

    Thank you so much for playing this for me when I visited at the Eid! I would have loved it even if the words were in a language I don’t know, your voice is always so intimate and evocative. And then with the added word-pictures, it was all so lovely…

  5. Nat says:

    A very dark blue sky, dunes of sand and so on, some stars…the morning star…and the colorful clothes of the ppl some are silhouettes, the amble camels… damn I am getting a bit seasick…lol
    Yesterday we were talking about the poem and “…we must carefully watch out, or we will make a movie” …..”do you have camels in your inv?”
    Eeehm… “OMG I dont have a camel in my inv”… “a sign we will never do this as a machinima”
    Yes, Karima is right. A sign, but, maybe, one day, we make a video 🙂
    But first we need some amble camels and finish some other projects…

  6. Laughing Nat..and you are quoting me for the world to see 🙂 Yes we must be very careful because if we brainstorm too well..oh my..we could be shelving the “BIG ” project again..I find it amazing that neither of us has an ambling camel in inventory and all I had were some cut-outs of them. Top of the wish list they go ..:):) We might actually make this scene.but……later..for now the “Changes is changing everything…” big Hugs Nat:)

  7. Hoyt Heron says:

    Nothing short of remarkable! You leave no genre-laden rock unturned. You always seem to discover new ways to share the world you have either seen, or imagined. Listening…I fell instep with the caravan. Watching the nervousness of the riders, hearing the harness bells hitting the camels necks, listening to a sound that did not belong. Real? Imagined? A premonition? I also felt the welcoming of Eid. Another chance. Another year. A famous writer once said, “I don’t know where the words come from.” I will no longer allow you this. I know where the words come from. They come from you. Thank you!

  8. Thank you so much Hoyt..Eid Mubarak:)

  9. Ron/Tubeguy says:

    Such a moving beat and feeling. What is the sound? A warning…..just the night sounds of peace….maybe….??? The riders…cautious…alert….does this presage? Or is it some wind phenomena? Or… maybe some variation on the Irish Banshee predicting death? When your life depends on accuracy of divination or clarity of prevision….? Maybe the Loon’s mournful cry is simply the cry of a night bird. Maybe…maybe…maybe….? The amble of moving thru life. The human fears of the night and of the unknown. All are deep human feelings and reactions. Described perfectly. Will we survive this journey? Should we avoid the sound? Or ignore it? This is a perfect snapshot of life here. What do we do? Are we afraid? Is this a warning to stay away…or should we simply hear it and keep going? Decisions. All will hear something different.This is why Karima’s work is so brilliant. It is a window for everyone to see something different and see it clearly. To feel it. The beat of time, of life. Of moving towards a destiny unique to each. Captured perfectly. Nice music, writing, feeling. This is magic in form of art. Well done, Karima. A big piece of heated cherry pie with ice cream! Almost needs Angelo to frame it musically. T

    • Well Tube…now you are spoiling me, as I find I always wait to see what take you might have on my latest poem. As I have said so many times before, your way of seeing sometimes around corners:) makes your point of view always unique.Now that I see how you saw it, I too can see, the steadfastness of holding the course, even when there appeared to be danger. Holding fast was the right decision in the end..Wavering or changing course might have put the men on a new direct line to disaster and a squalling sandstorm.. but they trusted and they did not change..I love the sound of the loon, and interestingly a very famous Costa Rican birder who comments below informs us that they only call for mating or rearing young..In my fantasy, they were like a haunting, testing the men’s resolve. a dust storm siren of the sandy seas..luring men and camels into deepsea-sandstorms, or perhaps..protecting them from them..All is fate..and sometimes only prayers can make the difference. Yum and thanks for the hot pie, but Angelo would have framed the whole score much more expertly:) Thank you for your thought provoking and intelligent comment to this poem.. always a delight to read what you have to say…and how you say it:)

  10. B. E. Macomber says:

    Loons only call together, and to each other during mating and rearing young, otherwise, they are mostly silent. They are probably the oldest species of birds going back 50 million years.
    “The language of birds is very ancient, and, like other ancient modes of speech, very elliptical: little is said, but much is meant and understood.” Gilbert White. Thank you Karima for continuing the mystery.

    • Smiles..thank you B.:) for your input and your info about my loon fantasy.Your expertise as a lifelong birder is very much appreciated, and adds another dimension to the story:)

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