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 (sharaab alrreh)
He was Erebeh, he was mystery, The Arab steed that 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 was midnight, His eyes were the stars The light from his hooves, Four galaxies that shone from afar. One look from him, one shake of his head The other steeds followed wherever he led He 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 His was a spirit born to be free A being not to broken, nor ridden was he.
But legends tell us, One wild winter night A lone Beddu approached him, So humble, polite And our Arab stallion He 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 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 The first Drinker of the Wind.
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)