Desert Labyrinth – Journey Poem

Desert Labyrinth

Desert Labyrinth ©2013 Bo Mackison

“A labyrinth is a symbolic journey . . . but it is a map we can really walk on, blurring the difference between map and world.” ~ Rebecca Solnit

Labyrinth, A Journey

I walk in circles, around and back, around and forth.

There is a beginning, a middle, an end.

Release, receive, return.

Guided by lines of crooked rocks
and an invisible hand on my shoulder,
subtle pressure encouraging me forward.

Step after step
turn after turn
towards center.

And there I stand immobile, my breath fragmented.
The labyrinth’s center is marked with a large pock-marked rock
the bearer of mementos and memento mori –
small stones, rings and bracelets, army dog tags, holy cards.

Center – the farthest distance from beginning or end.
I move on
no longer walking a meditative pace.

Startled by a sudden flare of sunlight, heart pounding,
I seek to cast aside these memories that haunt.

And still
I do not disregard the worn path, the boundary of rock,
the unspoken rule of the labyrinth.

I stumble to its exit, blinded, my feet guided by the rocky lines,
the labyrinth expels me from its sacred interior
into this other world.

A ghost keeps vigil, its eyes the eyes of the cactus wren
perched on the thorny spire of a tree cholla.
Its whisper, low and moaning, travels in the arroyo
and disappears in the swirling winds.

Release, receive, return.
All is well.


Posting a desert-related poem each day in April, National Poetry Month. Updated poems from my blog archives, new poems written as sacred practice, and selected, favorite poems from other poets. Today’s poem inspired by a labyrinth walk at the edge of the desert, and yes, the desire to flee past ghosts. And the decision not to.

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.

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