In the beginning the desert
was the ashes of a woman
inhabited by a storm.
Hidden secrets echoed,
and the silent poet
lay down on its grasses alone
or sat between its light
and shade, looking for something
that had disappeared
in its endless, rust-coloured mirrors.
At the beginning, the language of the desert
was grass blooming against the wall of wind,
tall palms swaying in the season of seeding
and cinders carried by air
to the blue welcome of warm sand.
She was our first fountain, our mother,
who held us, then gave us away
to the age of waiting cities.
About this poem
This poem, representing Tunisia, is part of The Written World – our collaboration with BBC radio to broadcast a poem from every single nation competing in London 2012.