Thursday, September 9, 2010

Desert Life

Photo by: Koshkin Dom

Work on Oneself
The horse is our emotions.
The carriage is the body.
The mind must learn to control the emotions.
The emotions always pull the body after them.
This is the order in which work on oneself must proceed.
- G. Gurdjieff

Watch first your body and your emotions before anything else. Watch your actions, your feelings, your thoughts, your moods. Watch how you walk, sit, eat, sleep, rest etc...

Make sure to begin with the first step because all other steps will then come on their own.
"I have a friend who feels sometimes that the world is hostile to human life - he says it chills us and kills us. But how could we be were it not for this planet that provided our very shape? Two conditions - gravity and a livable temperature range between freezing and boiling - have given us fluids and flesh. The trees we climb and the ground we walk on have given us five fingers and toes. The "place" (from the root plat, broad, spreading, flat) gave us far-seeing eyes, the streams and breezes gave us versatile tongues and whorly ears. The land gave us a stride, and the lake a dive. The amazement gave us our kind of mind. We should be thankful for that, and take nature's stricter lessons with some grace."
- Gary Snyder

Deb at Big Tent Poetry writes: This week’s prompt comes from one of the West’s most esteemed poets, William Stafford: “Think of something you said. Now write what you wish you had said.” Once you’ve pared it down to one idea and a resultant poem, come back starting Friday and leave us a link

So tomorrow this poem will be linked into the Big Tent

This poem does not deal with the exact words so much as a situation behind the words. I am not trying to blame anyone in this situation but I don't mind if you do. In fact as I read my own work, I feel myself leaning this way and that depending on who I plug into the two character places. Putting this poem into the desert suggests something...where's the water, what could be the water and its scarcity, and am I prepared to live here? Why is the bird a predator? It didn't have to be, or even be a bird. What other characters live nearby and who are the shits? Heh. I have no idea. I just make this stuff up. If I did have an idea, I wouldn't say. I think this situation is real though. How many people live here today?

Desert Life

I struggle with you
and I don't know why this is.
I would like to be
like the hawk to your
cactus life, easily perched
on your flowered crown,
calling out your love
and telling you this. Instead

I flinch at the stabs
of your spines, your sharp
hooked barbs, and I say the mean
things you are used to
getting from the shits
who flock around you because
you are just all that.

September 9, 2010 11:14 AM


  1. I finally replied to your poem on my blog, Christopher. I wish it wasn't taking me so long to respond. It really is important to me. Watch out for those prickles.

  2. You surely do tell it like it is. Bravo.

  3. Your poem is as tough as the life in the desert really is, I thoroughly enjoyed it!

  4. i think what a field day psychologists could have analyzing this relationship! i think of a companion poem: the cactus and the hawk go to couples counseling. :)

  5. Today I am the hawk and there's definitely blood on my feathers. But tomorrow I could be the shits or the cactus. Ahh but then there's that Northern Wall. North is the direction of knowledge and wisdom. Which side to you dwell against?


  6. Christopher say what is on your mind! Nice one!

  7. Rachel, life is what it is. I have a good case of the disgruntles right now. You have obstacles between you and the poetry. Ick.

    Jeeves, thanks for coming by.

    vivinfrance, I am sad if it is like that in your life. I am sure not every relationship is like this one because my last relationship was not like this.

    Amanda, that is high praise you give me. It is one of the plateaus of poetry, is it not? Reach this place and you are that much more a poet. You choose the setting to back the content and make it easy enough for the reader to go where the poem makes sense. Poetic communication is a specialization and an orchestration.

    carolee, :D yes, indeed.

    North is the direction of solitude, Elizabeth, and of Sophia's house, as you say. I have burrowed into the wall, with my front porch facing north and east while my patio faces south and west. The heart of my solitude is within the wall.

    Pamela, are you saying I forgot to sugar coat the thing? Damn.

    Tumble, I hope you come back.

    All, I post a poem every day or nearly so.

  8. Looks like several of us have hawk eyes, LOL. My favorite poem was the first one, emotions and body. What a clever metaphor!

  9. Diane, Gurdjieff was according to his followers, a spiritual master, but his material was not original, because he too was taught by others. He referred to them in his work. So the poem that you call your favorite is an old one in some iteration, carried forward from master to student as likely as not for many generations. The specific wording is probably his own.

  10. There is great beauty in a cactus.
    You have to know how to manoeuvre the spikes. They are not very good with hawks.

  11. Rallentanda, Tilly Bud, thanks for visiting.

  12. Lovely way of saying "I wish things were different." The cactus and hawk work well together. ;-)


The chicken crossed the road. That's poultry in motion.

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