The dogs are barking at the sun,
Dark lines of women homeward pass,
Each bearing on her head sweet grass,
And at their sides the children run.
The buffalo with nose in air,
The camel grumbling at his load,
Unbidden take their evening road,
And leave behind the clover square.
Wrapped in their cloud of dust, the sheep
And laden asses homeward go,
Within the village wall they know
Will be security and sleep.
And this with plough upon his back,
And that with wooden hoe in hand,
The bare-legged scanty-skirted band
Of labourers seek the village track.
No more the wet Sakîyeh wheel
Above the cotton gleams and burrs,
The shadûf-pole no longer stirs—
Forsaken for the evening meal.
And stooping from the heaven above,
While all the air about us sings,
With music of ten thousand wings,
Hies to her towery home, the dove.
(Idylls and Lyrics of the Nile, p. 64)