Thursday, July 20, 2017

I eat dry bread...

I eat dry bread…

I eat dry bread in the desert:
It tastes like a cake of dust.
I breathe in and out powdery clouds:
Nostrils singe, snorting fire.
I swallow my own saliva:
Thick paste coats my inside throat.
How will I sustain my journey in this land
When my mouth is filled with sand?

I falter inside a steel kettle, sparks popping about.
Black footprints flame at the edges.
I am dried up, a gourd rattling seeds.
Heat waves deceive like the devil.
Thirsty, I lick at a mirage with my eyes.
Twisting, I glimpse the taskmaster sun.
Hands astride hips, he glares mercilessly,
Glowering white noon death rays.

The sky is livid, a clown murderer, crimson lips, grinning.
He spills sacksful of hot ash from above.
Multitudes, buried alive, scratch at the insides of a wooden coffin.
Spiritless as the burning air gone lifeless,
I am dark as a moonless, starless sky,
Staggering in an expanse unbounded beyond extreme sight,
Devoid of any atom of hope,
Despair, a universe expanding endlessly.

Elijah under a broom tree


  1. In this version of the poem, “multitudes” is substituted for “hordes.”

    “As nouns the difference between multitude and horde is that multitude is a great amount or number, often of people, while horde is a wandering troop or gang, especially, a clan or tribe of a nomadic people (originally Tatars) migrating from place to place for the sake of pasturage, plunder, etc., a predatory multitude.”



  2. Image courtesy of Free Bible images

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  3. “The man who does not permit his spirit to be beaten down and upset by dryness and helplessness, but who lets God lead him peacefully through the wilderness, and desires no other support or guidance than that of pure faith and trust in God alone, will be brought to the Promised Land. He will taste the peace and joy of union with God. He will, without ‘seeing,’ have a habitual, comforting, obscure and mysterious awareness of his God, present and acting in all the events of life.

    “The man who is not afraid to abandon all his spiritual progress into the hands of God, to put prayer, virtue, merit, grace, and all gifts in the keeping of Him from Whom they all must come, will quickly be led to peace in union with Him. His peace will be all the sweeter because it will be free of every care.”

    Source: Thomas Merton, New Seeds of Contemplation (1972), page 239