Some time ago when I was at the ad agency in Bahrain, I worked with some very talented artists and illustrators. One was Linda Strydom – who created the illustrations for Corpoetry and among so many others there was Francis Tiongsen, his brother David Tiongsen who is nothing short of amazing and many others who do so much more than computer graphics. If you check out their portfolios in the links provided you’ll know what I mean.
All that is by the by. Just thought I’d give some friends a plug!
This poem came about because Francis loved horses and at the same time we were doing a brochure for a real estate project created around the theme of horses, in particular the Arab. He’d created some captivating illustrations which then prompted this poem based on an old Bedouin legend.
DRINKER OF THE WIND
He was Erebeh, he was mystery
He was the Arab steed
And he flew across the desert sands
Chasing the storm
His hooves thundering
A warning to those who had sinned
He was the first Drinker of the Wind.
His mane it was midnight
His eyes were the stars
And the light from his hooves
Four galaxies that shone from afar.
One look from him, one shake of his head
And the other steeds followed
Their leader, their messenger
Who ruled the old dunes
He ran wild and free and his sinews were limned
With good honest sweat: the Drinker of the Wind.
Long was he hunted
Hard was he sought
And the Bedouin tribes
Over him once had fought
But his was a spirit born to be free
A being not to be broken
Nor ridden was he.
But legends tell us
That one wild winter night
A lone Beddu approached him
So humble, polite
And our Arab stallion pawed the hard dunes
And took unto him a mare pale as the moon
Then he left as he came that dark winter night
Like a vision, a dream, a mere flicker of light
Never again to be seen by mere men
For he truly was the first Drinker of the Wind.
Some say they saw him
Against the dawn sky
Some say they hear him,
When the wind rumbles by
But the Bedouin know
And their legends declare
The Drinker of the Wind can’t be seen anywhere
For he left as he came
On that wild winter night
When the sky was a mantle as dark as could be
And the wind moved the dune tides like waves on the sea.
No moon, not a star shone
That magical night
When the Drinker of the Wind
Disappeared from all sight
He flew up to the heavens
The night sky took him home
Where, as he was meant to,
He still freely roams.
Note: The Arabian Horse –
And God took a handful of South wind and from it formed a horse, saying: “I create thee, Oh Arabian. To thy forelock, I bind Victory in battle. On thy back, I set a rich spoil And a Treasure in thy loins. I establish thee as one of the Glories of the Earth… I give thee flight without wings.”
— Bedouin Legend
(Byford, et al. Origins of the Arabian Breed)