Walls of a tepui echo down the valley, barricades of a forgotten revolution. A phalanx of rock, standing to attention, etched with white line waterfalls which rumble their roar into the blue-veiled distance.

Gold-leaf fortress, above the realm of the eagle and the vulture, puncturing the steely grey horizon. Magnetic. Enough to leave you dumb for a day or two. Majestic. Inspiring every emotion from fear to anger at their silence.

Tell me what you've seen, tell me what you know, old man, or whatever you are, tell me please. You're not as simple as the scientists make out. Or maybe you have nothing, no secrets at all, no tricks up your sleeves, nothing to declare, and it's just me, my head and I.

You hide from my gaze, coat yourself in clouds, skulk beneath the mist and fog. If I could leave you a note and come back another day, I would. If you had a letterbox I'd post you a letter, or a postcard perhaps.

I'd be rid of you then, able to roam free. Not want more, more.

I'm like the clouds then, swept over the Atlantic by the wind's cracked cheeks. I gather my strength across the ocean as my time nears, and come swooping across full of ideas, and projects and dreams to offer up, to be tossed about, debated and discussed, until they merge in to a something, a nucleus, an atom. A pearl of wisdom for me to take back to the sea.

I reach your shores like cumulus laden with its fruit. Into your lair you draw us in, where you can-open us up from tip to toe, plunging your hands deep down inside till we've nothing left but our skins.

Tell me old man, revolutionary fist, king, queen, giant, what this all means. Blown by the wind against your ancient angular shoulders, caught up in your mangled rock web, until I can't think of anything else but your form, your light, your tricks and your trade.

Every year now I've come back and each time closer I get. How long I wonder till you tell me the rules of this strange foreign game. And yet I don't want to spoil it, the suspense.

Old man, give me a clue. Something to hold on to. Pin my youthful hopes to. All this can't be coincidence. All the papers, the books, the maps and all, my photos and writings and trying to explain, my concern, my interest, my love and my life.

Yes, there are the people, the friends and the fires, and there are mirror-like lakes, palm-peppered plains, waterfalls and forest pools, bird songs and monkey howls. Everything to distract me from you and your presence. But you won't have it.

You want it all.

Each time I leave, you call me back. Sometimes I tire of thinking of you, of playing your game, and I want out.

But just then you'll give me something, a full moon or a sunset, a sign all this has a reason. And then, like the forests at your feet and the green-swathed savannas, I kneel supplicant. I bow and breathe in and I smile.


 This site forms part of the much larger website thelostworld.org. Please visit it for further background, travel information, maps, contacts, bibliography and guidance on the amazing Gran Sabana...
Travels in the Lost World -- © Dominic Hamilton 2002-7