Alphabet in the Desert

Alphabet of the Desert in the Month of April

Ants carrying loads
three times their size,
ambitious ants.


Just Born – Bighorn Mama and Baby © 2016 Bo Mackison

Birth of a bighorn sheep,
mother and baby boy.
Life abounds in the desert.

Coyote paces on the edge of the wash,
watching its kit sip
rainwater from a puddle.

Ribbon Sunrise

Ribbon Sunrise © 2016 Bo Mackison

Dawn breaks into pastel colors,
silhouetting the mountains.
Affirmation of a new day.

Evening primroses in bloom,
as I walk the edges in the evening,
so many edges.

Flocks of finches.
Feathers flutter.
Friendly and fine.

Gila monster sunning
on a slab of granite,
ancient sun worship.

Broad-billed Hummingbird

Broad-billed Hummingbird © 2016 Bo Mackison

Hummingbird hovers, a constant
in the desert, whirr of wings,
then fly away with a zing-zing.

Insects crawl and scoot, burrow and bore.
Desert is alive with insects
where ever one looks, if only one sees.

jack-rabbit jumping
through the back wash, zig zag.
You can’t catch me!


Ketzel Perched on Saguaro Buds © 2016 Bo Mackison

Kestrel chatters klee-klee-klee,
smallest falcon, mighty hunter. His sharp vision
tracks all movement on the desert ground below.

Lizards, hidden much of the winter,
now search for the warm earth, scuttling here and there as
lightning streaks through the stormy skies.


Full Moon over the Mountains © 2016 Bo Mackison

Moonlight, moonlight,
midnight moon.
Moon glow washes over the mountains.

Nectar draws the pollinators
to the cactus flowers –
prickly pears, cholla, saguaro all a bloom in April.

Owls hoo hoo
their night songs.
Night watch.

A Profusion of Palo Verde Yellow © 2016 Bo Mackison

A Profusion of Palo Verde Yellow © 2016 Bo Mackison

Palo verde trees
drop their yellow flowers.
Desert snow. Golden glow.

Quail are quiet: the mamas mind their nests,
each one filled with a dozen or more eggs.
Soon the babies will hatch.

Rattlesnake sheds its skin;
the snake-shed graces my desert altar.
Sacred ritual.

Saguaro in Bloom ©2016 Bo Mackison

Saguaro in Bloom ©2016 Bo Mackison

Saguaros in bloom, a blossom lasts a day.
White and heavy with fragrance, atop the tall column,
it beckons to pollinating bats and bees.

Thunderstorms come early this year.
Theatrical, with torrential downpours.
The desert smells like rain.


Uplift © 2016 Bo Mackison

Uplift. The mountains I see from my window.
Land uplifted. Spirits uplifted.

Varnish on the desert rocks, dark layers of minerals,
petroglyphs scratched into the surface by the ancients.
Vultures swoop above the rocks, on the lookout for their next meal.

Wind is the whisper of the desert,
sometimes the whisper turns into a howl
and the dust swirls.

Xeric. What the desert is.
A habitat containing little moisture;
landscape of yucca, cactus, palo verde.

Yucca in bloom © 2016 Bo Mackison

Yucca in bloom © 2016 Bo Mackison

Yucca in bloom,
a white flame above a candle,
illuminating the desertscape.

Zebra butterfly, black and white,
long-winged and graceful.
admired midst the desert flowers.


An alphabet poem – the desert in April – for April, National Poetry Month.

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. Enjoyable

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