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On the south west coast of the peninsula,

among Mount Sinai’s arid sandstone foothills,

beneath the stoops of falcons and the gyres

of eagles, where quail and grouse migrate,

and ibex graze on sparse thorn bushes,

where Moses might have berated the Twelve Tribes,

near the temple ruins of Hathor, goddess

of fertility and a golden calf,

are the rubbled remains of turquoise mines.

 

The Pharaohs prized the stones bluer than skies.

Canaanite prisoners of war worked the seams –

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