Where is…?

Where is the Sahara?

Does anyone really know?

Has anyone ever seen it?

I haven't. I know.

I've never met anyone who has.

News broadcasts,

Documentaries.

Hah!

They don't count.

A square on a map.

That's all it is.

Who are we to trust the mapmakers?

Names on paper.

Patches on a globe,

Bright yellow plastic…

And when was sand ever

The colour of some

Putrid soft drink?

Where is the Sahara?

These exotic place names,

So full of mystery,

So inviting,

The Gobi, Calcutta,

Singapore, Rangoon.

Perhaps it was better

Than using so soon

That stopgap measure

"Here be dragons"?

Is it a name on a blackboard?

A word in a book?

A figment of the mind,

Perhaps,

A geographer's outlook?

Sahara, Sahara,

So alien and strange;

I doubt we could imagine

Living in such a place.

Should we listen to those documentaries,

Those evening newscasts,

They'd tell us people do live there

In those far-off parts.

Not so strange to them, of course.

And I wonder sometimes,

What would they think of Milton Keynes?

09/05/2004