Blog Template Musings about Geocaching: I carried a copy of this poem in my wallet for years

Musings about Geocaching

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

I carried a copy of this poem in my wallet for years

Back in the '70's, this poem appeared in "The New Yorker" magazine. At least that is where I remember seeing it. I made a copy of it, reducing it on the Xerox machine at work, so I could carry the tiny words on a folded up piece of paper in my wallet. I carried that with me for many years.

I don't know where that worn paper disappeared to, but fortunately I copied the text to my computer about ten years ago. Someday I would like to commit it to memory.

Requiem for Sonora

a small child of a wind
stumbles toward me down the arroyo
lost and carrying no light
tearing its sleeves
on thorns of the palo verde
talking to itself
and to the dark shapes it touches
searching for what it has not lost
and will never find
and lonelier
than even I can imagine.

The moon sleeps
with her head on the buttocks of a young hill
and you lie before me
under moonlight as if under water
oh my desert
the coolness of your face

men are coming inland to you
soon they will make you the last resort
for tourists who have
nowhere else to go

what will become of the coyote with eyes of topaz
moving silently to his undoing
the ocotillo
flagellant of the wind
the deer climbing with dignity
further into the mountains
the huge and delicate saguaro
what will become of those who cannot learn
the terrible knowledge of cities

years ago I came to you as a stranger
and have never been worthy
to be called your lover or to speak you name
most silent sanctuary
more fragile than forests
more beautiful than water

I am older and uglier
and full of the knowledge
that I do not belong to beauty
and beauty does not belong to me
I have learned to accept
whatever men choose to give me
or whatever they choose to withhold
but oh my desert
yours is the only death I cannot bear.

Richard Shelton

The poem came to mind today as I was reading The Secret Life of Bees and finding other quotable statements like this one:

After you get stung, you can't get unstung no matter how much you whine about it.


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