the berber queen…


her eyes spoke to me
words soft and gentle
as if she was my mother
not an old lady
living on some arid hillside
cliff in tunisia
this has been her home
since she embraced her true love
and we
were but another set of staring eyes
peering through cameras
capturing disney-like images
for the folks back home
to be discussed over wine and hor d oeurves
noting of course
our ten minute climb to her home
as if it were worthy of a boy scout badge
but long before we entered her portal
she saw us coming
as she peeked out for the next
visit from some group of naive tourists
believing that they were the first to meet her
and capture her image on digital negatives
and so i wondered
why she would grace us with smiles
not the ones programmed to come on
when the visitation switch was thrown
but smiles from deep within her soul
as if greeting an old friend too long gone
her eyes quickly told me why
in this hillside village
little changed day-to-day
the mediterranean sun like her daughter’s visits
rose and set with such regularity
that even a saint would cry tears of boredom
but our futile quest for understanding her life
was a splotch of color on the drab walls of her existence
we were the observed
not the observer
so her eyes danced
and laughed
as she recalled her youth
and the contours of the years in her face
faded from my view
and all i could see
was her dancing on her wedding night
all i could hear
was the pounding of her heart’s passion
and then all i saw
was this beautiful berber woman
as a queen
holding court
in her palace

17 thoughts on “the berber queen…

  1. your words and imagery, both photographic and metaphoric are so amazing. I’m beyond flattered that you take the time out to look at what i post and am still searching for the right words to talk about your work. But, I love the way you set up the woman from Berber as if she were your mother. Really amazing. Thank you for your work.

  2. I always marvel at how much beauty (of any kind) men are capable of seeing in women… This might sound odd, but I rarely see any. I will not elaborate on this here, lest everyone will finally come to the conclusion that Jade has finally lost it altogether. 😉

  3. A sensitive description of this beautiful old lady. It is quite confronting find yourself in the role of the gauche tourist and you have turned the whole situation on its head here, which I love.

  4. I don’t know which is more beautiful, the poem or the artistic angle of the photo?
    Wonderful poem Charlie!
    I could see the little American boy in you discovering the Berber:) very cute!

    I got the chance to meet North African Berber living in Paris; They are fascinating people and very proud. I love their food too:)

  5. I just read this with my heart soooo wrapped into her soul. Just beautiful and just soooo insightful, on your part and hers. 🙂 Have a relaxing week.

  6. It is always nice to see a “visitor” (tourist sounds so crass) giving some thought to what lies beneath the rustic “National Geographic” scenery that appears at first sight, and rendering it in such beautiful verse. Thank you.

  7. Charlie, I liked the paragraph you added you the side about your trip:)
    I would love to see more pictures, way more, like an entire post of pictures….

    • Mirella…since I took almost three thousand pictures…I’m afraid that it would be like they say in the military “death by powerpoint” 🙂 But when and if I ever get some processed…I will send you several sample images so as not to bore you to tears. 🙂

  8. Wow, I’ve never read something so moving, there is so much truth to it, the imagery, her feelings, you’ve clearly got an ability to see right through other souls.

    • Thank you for that…I don’t know that I ‘see right through other souls’, but I hope that I can hear part of what they are saying. Thanks ever so much for your comments.

  9. Life is like the shadow on her face…. We never see all of life but we know it’s there!!……. Such a fine snap and words that match…

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