A Desert Storm

The desert heat is dry, bone dry!
It parches all around.
The baked rock reflects the heat
Which holds the rain just out of reach
And turns it into nothingness
Above the wasted ground.

High o’er the desert, clear and bright, the sky, unruffled blue.
No hint that ere the noontide beat
Drips with relentless, drawing heat,
Like puffed up wool from lambs that bleat
The clouds come rolling through.

From out of no where, high they pile-,
Each seeking space to grow.
Ions collide and generate
In thunderous roars which now berate
The sun drenched land whose crackled heat
Erupts in lightening glow.

Like gunfire breaking up the clouds,
The flashes snare and dart.
Like nerves of tension wire they fling
‘Twixt Heaven and Earth a crackling ring,
The wind whips up a call to sing,
And plays its jolting part.

The clouds bombard the ridge tops now.
They rip themselves in twain.
They spill with one ear splitting roar,
Their bellies opened wide to pour
In one huge waterfall their store-,
Five minutes worth of rain.

The clouds move off with rumbling groan.
The golden light appears.
Cliff swallows swell the air with cries,
The scorching sun reflects and dries
The living earth whose tortured eyes
Are whetted with fresh tears.

The desert life is arid, dry.
It knows the song of toads.
Buried and sealed beneath the mud,
In silence each awaits the thud
Of one quick, short, sporadic flood
Of rain-, a living goad.

Rain pools in monolithic rock
At night swell to the yen
Of spade foot toads and nearest mates,
In croaking song each enervates
Its love of life before it waits
Beneath dried mud again.

The cotton wood, the tree of life,
Stands massive, tall and gaunt.
It caught and held a burst of rain.
When cool of night descends again
Its release might relieve the pain
Of someone’s questing want.

Short lived the storm, but blessed too
Where pinnacles rise high,
Where mule deer walk at eventide,
Where life, thirst, death, stay side by side-,
Where arsenic pools and fresh springs bide-,
The desert’s living cry.

(Circa 1932)

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