© The copyright of these poems remains with the author, Mrs. Elise Kellett, and can only be reproduced in part or in full with her full permission.
The following are excerpts from the book titled Poems of Arabia by Elise Kellett which was published in 1989. The foreword reads:
This small collection of verses was written as a poetic diary of my thoughts and impressions, influenced by my life and travel within Saudi Arabia during the past eight years (circa 1980s), intending, hopefully, for them to be handed on to my three granddaughters - Emma Louise, Sarah Jane and Lisa Maria - in the fullness of time.
Patty Squires, my friend, read them and suggested they be published for the benefit of the many other people who have lived and worked in Saudi Arabia, to whom perhaps the poems in some future years will bring to mind a treasured memory of pleasant thoughts and recollections of their days spent in the Middle East.
I am deeply grateful to Patty for the idea and for her enormous energy and skills in preparing the draft suitable for publishing from my scribbled notes; and for my husband, Cliff, and Patty's husband, Mark, whose words were always of encouragement and who have always been in full support of our efforts.
I dedicate the poems to my two sons and their wives - Mike and Lynette, Paul and Maria - in order they may be handed on to our granddaughters to remind them in the future of their grandparent's fond memories of Saudi Arabia.
I hear the song of Arabia
Call 'cross the desert sand,
Silence deep, mysterious
Sweeps across the land.
No sound is nigh, the desert sleeps.
My heart is still, the peace I keep.
In the arid desert by the green oasis grows
A tree we call the Banyan.
In Arabic, shajarat aloes.
Its fruits are red and sour
Bitter to the tongue,
Yet Arab boys climb twenty feet
And watch the summer long
For the first red ripening
Of the fruit
In late October fair.
The ladies love to eat them
It's a gift they love, so rare,
I've tried to eat them many times
But oh! I find them tart.
Perhaps they're so much sweeter when
Given from the heart....
We were quiet people
Before the oil was found.
A simple way of life was ours
Before they drilled the ground.
Our young men took the hard way
By learning other skills,
From tiny boys to manhood
They watched the powerful drills
Bite deep into the desert,
Where only Bedouin knew,
The safe and secret highways,
A traveller could pass through.
There are not pathways cross these lands
Of desert wild and free,
Yet ancient ones know every track,
Each shrub brush, prickly tree.
They read the weather signs and stars,
Made medicine from herbs,
Knew the ways of eagles
And the ageless songs of birds.
Knew when the shoals of fish would come
As the changing tides did show,
Brought shining pearls up from the depths
To the deck of an Arab dhow.
The camel wool was washed and dyed
From coloured plants and flowers,
Whilst women spun and wove the cloth
And whiled away the hours.
Brave songs and dances came to be
Which told of myriad tales,
Of bandits and of ill deeds,
Of death on the desert trails.
All these we still remembered,
From tales our fathers told,
Before the foreign labour came
To drill for our black gold.
Lovely Bougainvillea, growing up the wall,
Pretty crimson colour, almost ten feet tall.
Purple, tan and pink and white
Your leaves a rich bright green.
You really are the prettiest flower
I've seen outside a dream.
You twine yourself about my house
Covering up the walls,
A bright splash in the desert
Where shammall oft times blows.
Pretty Bougainvillea, almost ten feet tall,
Lovely purple flower, climbing up my wall.