Peace in the Desert

English: Leaving traces on soft sand dunes in ...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Peace reigns in this treeless desert of quiet.
Here I don’t worry about the philosophical
or metaphysical question of a falling oak,
redwood, or even a palm if I don’t wish to.
Many will never understand my affinity
for the neatness of the seemingly
dust-cursed and barren wastes of alone.
I don’t mind. The desert protects its own.
Always shifting, always the winds of time
giving me new geography to chronicle
and erasing the needless old steps,
always the sound of my own voice
when I wish to listen to it.

And there are plenty of others here.
Just very, very far apart.

My wanderings have crossed paths
with some of these nomads
and I have fallen in with another.
Sometimes we go off, each of us alone,
to listen to the desert,
take comfort in its cleanliness
of thought and deed and spirit.
We always seem to come back
to share our discoveries
and keep one another warm on cold nights
of what once was just one voice,
one heartbeat wandering
in that wind and the blessed quiet.

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10 thoughts on “Peace in the Desert

  1. “The desert protects its own….” and “Sometimes we go off, each of us alone……” Beautiful writing, Joe. Raw and lonely……and strong….and sad. This is one of my all time favorites.

  2. Beautiful poem, dear Joe…I understand that need for stillness & quiet…but I’m so glad our nomad paths crossed…no longer alone,together sharing & warmth…lovely, melancholy poem *huge hugs* 🙂 xoxox

    • Thank you, dear Louise. We crossed paths in that desert called The Aether, bigger and more quiet than the Sahara. The chances even slimmer. Yet here we are! Thank you again, MDG! 🙂 xoxox

  3. You know that those dunes are constantly evolving don’t you joe? The desert does look after her own, but she has a way of letting those pesky grains get carried over oceans in the rain at times 😉 here’s hoping eh? Big love J x

  4. I’ve read this several times now, with pleasure of course.
    At first I was reading for the content, taking the poem as a sustained metaphor, wondering where it was going but liking the quiet tone of voice).
    Then I noticed the shape of the poem. Two stanzas of 13 lines each (varying in length) but separated by those two lines which act as a pivot, which slow the reader down (especially that “very very far apart”), and which stand out so clearly. So there’s a strong structure here. If it is free verse, it is certainly not uncontrolled, and those 2 lines ensure that the message ‘not alone’ is understood.
    Thinking further, I see how you have transformed an image which might otherwise remain conventional, almost a cliche: the desert and loneliness. In the first stanza you introduce the idea of the geography constantly changing under the winds; then those two central lines tell us of others somewhere in the desert; and of course the final stanza develops that: there is comfort in “keeping one another warm”. And yet you still hold on to “the wind and blessed quiet”. A balance.
    By the close you have subverted both the conventional image and its antithesis and given us something to think about.
    (A little niggle if you don’t mind: in line 2 “There’ should be ‘Here’).

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