My poem “A new Gertrude Bell for the Atlantis of the Sands” will appear in the Scarlet Leaf Review

by Andrada Costoiu

Another time, same wind gusts are witness,
to a world of ever changing, uncharted sands of red and tan. 
No tribal conflicts are troubling this place,
The hammer of the modern world has already been cast.

I hear the music of the shifting dunes
Chanting to worlds that have been here long before the present,
With a faint hum, low throated, drum like sealing sound.

Glowing under the moon, the lights of a thousand stars hanging from the sky,
Drench the desert like whiffs of wisdom.
I know, 
That I have lived my entire life in the company of them,
Kneeling together to the same universe,
Feeling the life force.

Some girls wear different hats, 
Mine is to thread the beads of civilization into the eternal loop,
and prove that that nothing disappears into the unknown.
I have been searching to make the Atlantis of the Sands real,
To find the lost city that was forgotten for thousands of years.
I keep planning my route,
And this is certainly the most spectacular adventure of my life.

My feet are aching, for days I’ve been begging for new feet, new arms,
stoic in my quest that I hope to carry through the next day and on.

Tonight, I feel so thirsty,
Drinking water from my canteen, barefoot,
I see my crew stretching, 
The feeble sounds of their hymn sung in unison
Express visions of life that undulate across miles of silent sand.
“We’ll go at first light”, says the main porter,
I nod, 
Knowing that the greatest honor bestowed upon us humans is survival.
Tomorrow is another day,
Neither bound nor free, we will keep walking.

We’re a band of loyal warriors fighting to assemble the puzzle that reveals the truth:
The past, the present, and the future are all connected,
We don’t own time, but we do own our history.

I believe in us,
Nothing is dust in the wind
And our songs will not fade mute.
Ancient flames of light flicker inside us,
Giving us purpose,
We will dive and emerge from the sea currents of time,
And trace past and present trails of human survival and civilization.


© Andrada Costoiu and, 2020- . Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Andrada Costoiu and, 2019 with appropriate and specific direction to the original content

My new poetry book “Love poems: insights into the complicated mystery of love” is available on Amazon. You can get it here. Please write a review if you get around it. I would really appreciate it.

Because you’re here and you have read it, I’d like to tell you the story behind it. There are actually two stories, one is that of Gertude Bell and the other of a lost city.

I’ve written about Gertude Bell before. There is little written about her, but she was remarkable woman who left traces in our history. She was a misfit, one that naturally went against the stereotyped woman of the early twentieth century.  She was born in England, in 1868, into a wealthy family. Her mother died while when Gertrude was seven years old.She studied at Oxford. In fact, was the first woman to graduate in Modern History at Oxford. A lot of records list her as an archeologist or as a writer, but for me the accent should be put on her travels, on her quest to uncover unknown paths and on her cultural and political power in the Middle East. Her desert odyssey started in 1900 and she travelled across the Arabian desert many times. Many people thought of her as a specie of lunatic British explorer. I think the fact that they underestimated her was her lucky charm.

Her knowledge helped the European powers decide how to carve Arabia after the war. There is a movie made about her and her travels: “Queen of the desert”.

Under the cover of archaeological research, she traveled to Hail, to assess the Rashids, a historic Arabian House who were the most formidable enemies of the House of Saud. I don’t know what she saw or what she said but we all know that Ibn Saud was the one that became the founder of Saudi Arabia. Many say that Gertrude was a spy. I don’t know how I feel about this, I guess if you’re not there, you don’t know the reasons, or if you didn’t read enough, you should not speak. So, I will not speak. I want to highlight her courage rather than the political games. She was also involved and played a big role in the creation of Iraq, she played the role of mediator between the Arab government and British officials and later on she played an important part in the administration of Iraq.

If you want to read more about her, I have written a small article that you can find here: Gertrude Bell at Andrada’s website.

So this is Gertrude’s story. Now, the Gertrude in my poem, it’s a combination between the way I see the real Gertrude and myself. I guess I must have some Indiana Jones DNA because I too, love adventure and I am fascinated by these things.

The second story behind this poem is the one of a lost city of Ubar, or the so called The Atlantis of the Sands. The quest to find this city started early on, in 1930. But it wasn’t until 1992 that they actually found something, that might be remnants of this city. Here is what they said about it :

“In February 1992, The New York Times announced a major archaeological discovery in the following terms: “Guided by ancient maps and sharp-eyed surveys from space, archaeologists and explorers have discovered a lost city deep in the sands of Arabia, and they are virtually sure it is Ubar. When news of this discovery spread quickly around the newspapers of the world, there seemed few people willing or able to challenge the dramatic findings, apart from the Saudi Arabian press. The discovery was the result of the work of a team of archaeologists led by Nicholas Clapp, which had visited and excavated the site of a Bedouin well at Shisr (18° 15′ 47 N” 53° 39′ 28″ E) in Dhofar province, Oman. The conclusion they reached, based on site excavations and an inspection of satellite photographs, was that this was the site of Ubar, or Iram of the Pillars, a name found in the Quran which may be a lost city, a tribe or an area.” A contemporary notice at the entrance to an archaeological site at Shisr in the province of Dhofar, Oman, proclaims: “Welcome to Ubar, the Lost City of Bedouin Legend”.[9]However, scholars are divided over whether this really is the site of a legendary lost city of the sands.

“A contemporary notice at the entrance to an archaeological site at Shisr in the province of Dhofar, Oman, proclaims: “Welcome to Ubar, the Lost City of Bedouin Legend”.[9]However, scholars are divided over whether this really is the site of a legendary lost city of the sands.” Source: Wikipedia

I think it is an interesting story, and there are a lot of resources on the web where you could read more about it.