It’s midnight at the oasis,

All the camels are wandering free,

The men sit around their Hookahs,

Smoking Hashish and drinking coffee,

The drums beat in a steady rhythm,

In unison … as if by one hand,

Wind instruments lift in sinuous melodies,

Like heat rising up from the sand,

The bazouki joins in like a light breeze,

Gently shaking the dates from the palms,

Veiled women in Bedouin clothing appear,

Wearing bangles of gold on their arms.


Their movements are ancient and practiced,

Designed to promote their good health,

Each dancer is adorned with jewelry,

Denoting her family’s wealth.

Tribal markings on their faces,

Their lips are painted red,

Their bodies gyrate suggestively,

Eyes flash promise of good times ahead.

The music increases in tempo,

Harmonies writhing upwards like a snake,

The men sit mesmerized as if frozen,

While the women shimmy and shake.


In a frenzy of music and colour,

The dancers all spin around,

Their full circle skirts lifting outwards,

Their feet barely touching the ground.

The music then stops in an instant,

The dancers’ momentum abates,

They take a deep breath …

hold their hands to their mouths …

throw their heads back ..

.. and ululate.


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