This poem was inspired by a recent trip to Morocco.
“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.” —Aesop
Morocco is a country characterized
both the sparkling, bubbly Mediterranean Sea,
and the sweeping, powerful Atlantic Ocean.
The people speak
an overwhelming, confusing jumble of
French and Arabic.
Its people fall
into roughly two ethnic groups:
the Berbers, the native people, built on tradition;
the Arabs, who now call
Africa—not the Arabian Peninsula—their home.
in the country, there is
of this confusion.
The rural village,
into the hillside and surrounded
by lush foliage, is
Berber through and through.
The pharmacy, surrounded
By carefully nurtured plants, that houses
All the natural, ancient, Berber remedies.
Inside, I find
The ultimate remedy: argan oil, produced only in Morocco.
Argan oil, which can
A woman grinding
The seeds of argan fruit, pressing out
The rare and treasured oil.
Her long brown fingers grasp
A wheel that, when turned, presses
The caramel-colored, fingernail-sized seeds beneath it.
I try working
The solid wood of it.
The gritty rubbing between the seeds and the wood.
As nothing is produced—wait!
There it is, something— that drips
Into the pan below.
The raw oil is
a chocolate brown.
My effort only produces
A tiny drop, that slithers
All those seeds, all that grinding, all that time—and the result is
How can the Berber woman have such patience?
To work diligently?
To see few results?
The woman smiles.
Her face sags
With age, a reminder of how many years
She has performed
Her eyes twinkle,
As if trying
To tell me a secret.
And then I realize:
Maybe patience is
The promise to oneself that all will end well,
And that all effort
Or good thoughts
Will come to fruition.