The camels' backs have broken,
All across the thirsty lands;
And their drivers rail, then bribe, then plead
With the beasts of burden
Too long taken for granted,
But they will not be moved now,
Though water lies far away;
They have it in their humps, in the animal patience
On their backs.
Not so the drivers,
Who fooled their days away at the oases.
So now they gasp
Since the desert ships have grounded themselves,
As the ships of state slip beneath the sands.
The camels rest without comment,
Yet still, they sometimes spit.