Nubians Contemplate Lake Nasser Behind the High Dam at Aswan

by Norbert Hirschhorn

They stand on concrete pylons,
pinions of steel, imagining landmarks
they can no longer see: acacias,
date palms, orange groves, millet rows,
wattled homes painted with stories of Haj,
(Haram al – Sharif, the black Kaaba).
And the graves sancta sanctora
of parents, saints, children lost early.  Only

the water, the unruffled water, spreads
forever, drowning out laughter beneath
the growl of turbines where
salvos of power turn air into ozone.  From

the hills, from the sands, small
eddies billow: land, oh land.