The Saharawi Seven by Denni Turp

Bare, bare landscape: seven trees; flat, stone-coloured sand;
sticks and shortened shadows and a darkening sky.
Figures in a desert.  There are no seas.

These are not Gormley installations set to please the eye.
This is no row of metal, voiceless men staring eyeless out
across the waves, and grazed by ocean winds
that stroke and scar their iron skin.

This is no work of art to speak the soaring soul of man,
the drive to seek the new, to understand,
the will to start again.

Six stand and face away, blue draa and white djellaba clad,
five black-wrapped heads, one bare and greyed.
The seventh sits in profile for he cannot stand, and lifts
his only hand to gesture wordlessly.

Six stay motionless, five of them lean on sticks,
thin, unflexed echoes of each missing limb,
and the one-armed, legless man sits fixed on level sand.

Sparse trees fade into the vacant air.  There is no movement.
Six men stare away into the silence that is all they hear.
Distance bleaches all the colour out.
No name.  No land.  Nowhere.

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