A Desert Portrait in Still Life – Poetry Revisited

Nature's Abstract

Nature’s Abstract © 2013 Bo Mackison

We have what we seek. It is there all the time, and if we give it time it will make itself known to us. ~ Thomas Merton

While searching my blog for information on my Desert Wisdom Cards, I came across a poem I wrote about a year ago. It was called A Still Life in the Desert. I read it and thought how differently I would write the same poem today. How little things have changed in my world, gradually adding up to bigger changes, to living life in a direction I could not have imagined a year ago.

Different focuses, different goals, even different ways of seeing the same thing. And so I did a re-write. Here is the second iteration of this desert poem.

A Desert Portrait in Still Life

I am…

intertwined cactus spines
complex protective patterns
mysterious yet beautiful.

I am…

a pulled back curtain
a crazy quilt, fantastically embroidered
an unlocked trunk.

I am…

a cloud of red dust
tumbleweed dancing
a desert basin, easy on the wanderer’s eye.

I am…

a beloved assemblage of photographs
a deck of desert wisdom cards
poetry scribbled on scraps of paper.

I am…

idea incubator
questions and work-arounds
prayers of gratitude.

I am…

pulp, photographs, a hawk milagro
inked letter press
the alphabet in my hand.


About Bo Mackison

I'm a photographer, book-artist, traveler, naturalist, and creator of the Contemplative Creatives Journey, An Online Workshop and Community and Desert Wisdom Cards and Workshops. Though often not well known, I find the desert a welcoming place - a healing space. Its mysteries and gifts transformed me several years ago. Since that first encounter, I return again and again to fill my well in what most people think of as a desolate region. I'd love to share my desert discoveries and wisdom with you. Please subscribe to receive my five part mini email course The Gifts of the Desert. It's my gift to you.


  1. I’ll need to read the old poem to really appreciate, but this version is fascinating to me.

  2. I love both poems, Bo, but the new one feels so positive and exciting. I also adore that photograph – STUNNING!!!

  3. And most important – ‘you are’ you!! Such a beautiful poem!!!

  4. Fascinating, and oh so you. Keep writing, my friend. Keep writing. And sharing!

  5. Such growth! A lovely exercise in change and changing. Thank you for sharing yourself. Be happy.

  6. Excellent in black and white, which allows me to see the intertwining lines.

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