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One of us – largest outside polar regions;
another one's island's shared with Indonesians;
a third one is found at the edge of the first,
a break from the dryness to quench people's thirst.

One of us separates Swedes from the Finns;
one – lake with skiing, casinos and inns;
one's a dry place near where Mongol herds graze;
one flows where born was a writer of plays.

What do we have in common?

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    $\begingroup$ i am going to close this question as duplicate. $\endgroup$ – Omega Krypton Jun 4 at 10:35
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    $\begingroup$ V ernyvmr gung Jvxvcrqvn pynvzf 'obga' orvat Byq Abefr sbe 'onl', ohg gung fbhaqf jebat naq lbh jba'g svaq n qvpgvbanel nterrvat jvgu gung pynvz. Gur bevtva bs gur Thys'f anzr vf pbafvqrerq hapyrne. $\endgroup$ – jarnbjo Jun 4 at 10:58
  • $\begingroup$ @jarnbjo Thanks for the correction. That is definitely problematic for this puzzle. Probably too late to rewrite the line at this point, though... $\endgroup$ – jafe Jun 4 at 11:20
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    $\begingroup$ It is better to sip Chai tea when you try and solve this puzzle's enigma. $\endgroup$ – Evargalo Jun 4 at 13:39
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The poem is about

geographical places with 'duplicate' names. Thanks @OmegaKrypton, @Evergalo and @AHKieran for some of the answers/hints.

One of us – largest outside polar regions;

Sahara desert - 'sahra' means 'desert' in an Arabian dialect. (found by @AHKieran)

another one's island's shared with Indonesians;

East Timor - 'timur' is Malayan for 'east'. (found by @Evargalo)

a third one is found at the edge of the first,
a break from the dryness to quench people's thirst.

Lake Chad - 'chad' means 'large expanse of water' in a local language. It lies on the edge of the Sahara (see first line) and it's freshwater so it's drinkable. (found by @Evargalo)

One of us separates Swedes from the Finns;

Gulf of Bothnia - 'botn' is Old Norse for 'gulf'.

one – lake with skiing, casinos and inns;

Lake Tahoe - 'tahoe' is Washo for 'the lake'. (pattern found by @OmegaKrypton)

one's a dry place near where Mongol herds graze;

Gobi desert - 'gobi' is Mongolian for 'waterless place'. (found by @OmegaKrypton)

one flows where born was a writer of plays.

Shakespeare was born in Stratford-upon-Avon - 'afon' is Welsh for 'river'. (pattern found by @OmegaKrypton)

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  • $\begingroup$ remember to add the oasis from @Evargalo's answer! :) +1ed $\endgroup$ – Omega Krypton Jun 5 at 1:37
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    $\begingroup$ The OP stated (in a now deleted comment) that lines 3+4 were about the same place. This is also reflected by the comma at the end of line 3, instead of a semicolon. $\endgroup$ – Glorfindel Jun 5 at 5:07
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    $\begingroup$ More examples here $\endgroup$ – Kruga Jun 5 at 10:51
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@Glorfindel has found the answer and explicited the second stanza, here is an explanation for the first one:

One of us – largest outside polar regions;

@AHKieran pointed out in a comment that this must be Sahara Desert, where "Sahara" means desert in Arabic.

Another one's island's shared with Indonesians;

Timor Island is shared between Indonesia and East Timor. But Timor/Timur also means 'East' in Indonesian. So this matches the tautological name pattern noticed by Glorfindel. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/East_Timor

a third one is found at the edge of the first,

Then this will be Lake Chad. From wiki, The name Chad is a local word meaning "large expanse of water", in other words, a "lake".

a break from the dryness to quench people's thirst.

Al-Ahsa Oasis in Saudi Arabia is the biggest oasis in the world. In Classical Arabic, 'Ahsa' means the sound of water underground.

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    $\begingroup$ Yup, you've got them all. (No separate item related to line 4, it's just there to clarify #3.) $\endgroup$ – jafe Jun 4 at 13:38
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Partial Answer

One of us separates Swedes from the Finns;

Tornio/ Torne River

one – lake with skiing, casinos and inns;

Lake Tahoe (thanks @Glorfindel), a lake with the name that means "the lake", literally

one's a dry place near where Mongol herds graze;

Gobi Desert

one flows where born was a writer of plays.

Stratford-upon-Avon, birthplace of Shakespeare (thanks @Glorfindel again), where Avon literally means "river"

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    $\begingroup$ I think you're on the right track, The first one is rot13(Gur Fnunen Qrfreg vf gur ynetrfg qrfreg rkpyhqvat gur cbyne qrfregf, naq Fnunen vf qrevirq sebz Qrfreg va Nenovp) $\endgroup$ – AHKieran Jun 4 at 10:11

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