thirteen ways of looking at a desert


Photo: Rosa Frei

Linked to One Stop Poetry: http://onestoppoetry.com/

thirteen ways of looking at a desert

i
sometimes something
we judge to be barren
throbs with life

ii
wind scatters sand
like gossips spread destruction

iii
if you go to the desert
you will see the stars
perhaps one of them
holds your life purpose
then you are no longer
afraid of the viper’s kiss

iv
the power of thirst
consumes all other desires

v
shifting sands
are like people
who vacillate
you don’t know
where you stand

vi
the desert is a canvas
open to splashes
of vibrant color

vii
the desert is
a state of mind
are you alone
or lonely

viii
the desert is
a place of temptation
there the devil tempted
jesus
   bread
   greed
   power
nothing has changed

ix
if you try
to leave your mark
upon the desert
nature will erase it
   wind
   earthquake
   war
we don’t really matter

x
the hotter it gets
the fewer people hang around

xi
many people
do not understand
the beauty of the desert
or of wrinkled faces

xii
at some point
you will visit a desert
and discover
what it is to be arid

xiii
when the desert blooms
you will find grace

Based on a form of Wallace Stevens: “Ways of Looking at…”

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35 thoughts on “thirteen ways of looking at a desert

  1. libraryscene says:

    a wonderful take of the 13… no ii is so simple, but says so much, my fave. The desert is such a wonderful metaphor which you give great service in your fabulous exploration. Thank you for the prompt ~

    Like

  2. I love a desert, I mean a visit, a sniff, a photo, a song, a portrait. Excellent. Would never live there, but, a visit yes. Thanks for the visit, so real.

    http://henryclemmons.wordpress.com/2011/10/15/conversations/

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  3. very creative, I tried to do similar, it takes time, finally tried an easier one.

    🙂

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  4. Rallentanda says:

    Interesting and creative poem. Rich in ideas language and form. The desert like the ocean is cruel and dangerously beautiful. You convey this feeling in your fine work.

    Like

  5. tigerbrite says:

    Enjoyed this approach to poetry. It certainly is very expressive and I was with you in each stanza. We, or I should say I, have always though of deserts as being sandy. This was until I went to Qatar. The dows at the port and on the clear water were enchanting. Yet the desert I romanticised about looked liked God’s building site. A pile of rubble from buildings that had been torn down by the wrath of God.

    Like

  6. wolfsrosebud says:

    “shifting sands
    are like people
    who vacillate
    you don’t know
    where you stand”

    Great desert observations… do like the lines above they seem to have a subtle movement to them

    Like

  7. tinkwelborn says:

    Wonderful! 13 ways of seeing a desert – see what Stevens’ hath wroth from his Key West abode?
    I especially like the 7th way, stanza 7:
    the desert is
a state of mind
are you alone
or lonely
    a state of being, or a state of mind? a desert produces mirages.
    having grown up in the desert…I attune and atone to this piece, quite naturally.
    Lovely imitation of idea, a job well done, and poem that is rich in meaning.

    thank you

    Like

  8. Brendan says:

    There was a form of pilgrimage by ascetics involving getting lost in the desert (as if on the ocean) — so the journey through this poem is a sort of immrama, learning how to live and die. Like the ocean, deserts endure … while we remain small voices quickly lost in the ancient winds. Loved it. – Brendan

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  9. colleen says:

    I read this first thing upon waking up and I mistakenly read dessert and then thought the desert was a metaphor for a dessert!

    The poem worked like footprints in the sand.

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  10. David King says:

    So many good lines and stanzas. Best of all:

    many people
    do not understand
    the beauty of the desert
    or of wrinkled faces

    but the poem is a triumph of shifting foci.

    Like

  11. jenneandrews says:

    This is fabulous, very beautiful. I especially love:

    at some point
    you will visit a desert
    and discover
    what it is to be arid

    I love that you chose the desert for this challenge– a wonderful job. xxxj

    Like

  12. claudia says:

    remembered this victoria – what i like is that each stanza could stand on its own – or at least almost. thanks for tending the bar victoria – loved your article and all the different takes – stumbled upon poets i never heard of..

    Like

  13. Nick Rolynd says:

    Wow, I love how you approached this.

    “you will see the stars
    perhaps one of them
    holds your life purpose”

    Loved those lines. Great piece! =)

    Like

  14. Really awesome… I particularly enjoyed 8 and 9……. beautifully written Victoria……. wonderful prompt too! I lived in the desert in southwestern Texas and New Mexico for 5 years…… it is a very, very different lifestyle……..

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  15. manicddaily says:

    Very lovely.

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  16. Why stop at 13? Seriously, very nicely observed and great article at dVerse.

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  17. Mary says:

    You have certainly described well the different aspects of desert. You know it well and because of you I now know it better. Beautiful work.

    Like

  18. Beth says:

    Oh I love it! Every single verse. Humans can learn much from what appears to be barren. Excellent.

    Beth

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  19. Jamie Dedes says:

    An original: both perspective and method. Enjoyed much.Thanks, Victoria!

    Like

  20. dani says:

    “when the desert blooms
    you will find grace”

    i live in the desert and there is grace and a real sense of peace when it blooms. beautiful!

    Like

  21. Steve Isaak says:

    Love this – one of my favorite reads this week. Perfect.

    Like

  22. Way kool, in a hot desert kind of way.

    Like

  23. Bodhirose says:

    Just exquisite–so many images and descriptions here. Deserts are so full…

    Like

  24. claudia says:

    this is a very creative take on the prompt…loved all the different ways of how you can look at the desert but my fav i guess is vi…beautiful victoria

    Like

  25. trisha says:

    this is just fabulous victoria. wow! all thirteen are beautiful and some are truly stunning. you can truly capture the world in your words.

    Like

  26. hedgewitch says:

    Nice nod to one of Stevens’ best. Some excellent observations here, as well.

    Like

  27. I have to say that I really enjoyed the read, Victoria. Such profound little nuggets, one after another, like clustered grains of desert sand. Blessings to you…

    Like

  28. Rosa says:

    Beautiful! I really love the lines:
    “the desert is
    a state of mind
    are you alone
    or lonely”
    The poem shows great deepness and sensitivity. Thank you so much!

    Like

  29. Rosa says:

    Brilliant, love it so much. Specially the lines
    the desert is
    a state of mind
    are you alone
    or lonely
    A really touching poem, that goes deep….. Thank you so much!

    Like

  30. What I came away from this piece is that a desert is like a mirror in that it reveals less about itself, and more about the observer. Each new theme, like the shifting sands, is a shift in perspective: perfect for a desert motif.

    Good work! 😀

    Like

  31. brian says:

    you packed a lot of wisdom into that and love the way you went after putting it together!

    totally agree on the co-creator comment by the way…

    #9 humbling and true…

    Like

  32. Isabel says:

    “desert is a state of mind” is my fav line

    Like

  33. dustus says:

    A unique approach that provides much food for thought. Cool challenge response! I especially like when you compare it to a canvas and project a night scene.

    Like

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