The Sahara is a beautiful poem sown by the fingers of the creator, the pencil and the architecture of the wind on the dunes and the rocks and the voices, the cries and screams of animals and the chants of shepherds and nomads.

Every single element of the desert is a well-embroiled verse. The Sahara is the kingdom of beauty, inspiration, magic and spirits of poetry. People do not become poets in the Sahara. They are born so.

Its horizons are waves of changeable weather of heat and cold. They are open to all sounds, languages, meanings and interpretations.

The people of the Sahara are readers and composers of poems by nature. Their hearts dance with the sunrise and the sun shines, the rain and the drought, water and the grass, the wind and the storms, the dunes and the sand, the trees and the birds, the sheep and the goats, beauty, tea and women.

The nomads breathe poetry. They sing and talk poems of wisdom, love, warship, divinity, sophism, loneliness and nature. They dance on tunes of natural epics and their rhythms. Life for them is but a short poem that is full of signs, myths, tales, stories and songs.

The Sahrawi eyes are cameras that nomads use to depict mental pictures and images of the different natural and cosmic scenes they witness on their daily journeys in the heart of the Sahara.

The inhabitants of the Sahara live in the open space lead by freedom and the horizons. They carry their tents as their legs carry their bodies and as their necks carry their heads. They are tied to no man and to no land. The entire desert is theirs as all the skies are the stars and the moons` kingdom.

“It is the Being. For the commonplace mortal, there are four cardinal points: the earth below his feet and the sky above his head…the sky has no limits, space no frontiers. There are no doors; hearts are open,” wrote Driss Chraibi in his introduction to “Southern Moroccan Secrets.”

Many writers have been inspired by the Sahara. For instance, Ahmed Abou Zid said in one of his articles that the Sahara is not just “a wide limitless desert that is empty of any signs of plants or animal life beside the scarcity of water and the heat.”

For Mr. Brahim El Haissan, the author of “The Culture of the Sahara:” “in the beautiful nights of the Sahara that are lit by the light of the divine moon, popular tales are counted and the poems of Hassani poetry on the hot sand. They are told and not written as they are preserved in the memory of the nomads.”

“These are the Sahrawi in their Sahara: natural and integrated in the nomadic time. They live inside their tents on the basis of self-esteem, dignity and courage that draw their being and continuity in the world of wind, sand and the scarce rain and longing for life,” according to Mr. Brahim El Haissan, a scholar, author and artist from Tan Tan city in the south of Morocco.

In brief, The Sahara welcomes the poets with open arms like a beautiful lady that hold her beloved after a long trip. She gives warmth, love, desire and dreams. It energizes both the soul and the body. The Sahara is a womb that has always given birth to fools or the wise. Sometimes, if not most of the time, it gives life to both.

By Rachid Khouya