Have you slept in a tent alone—a tent
Out under the desert sky—
Where a thousand thousand desert miles
All silent round you lie?—
The dust of the aeons of ages dead,
And the peoples that trampled by?
Have you looked in the desert’s painted cup,
Have you smelled at dawn the wild sage musk,
Have you seen the lightning flashing up
From the ground in the desert dusk?
Have you heard the song in the desert rain
(Like the undertone of a wordless rhyme?)
Have you watched the glory of colors flame
In its marvel of blossom time?
Have you lain with your face in your hands, afraid,
Face down—flat down on your face—and prayed,
While the terrible sand storm whirled and swirled
In its soundless fury, and hid the world
And quenched the sun in its yellow glare—
Just you, and your soul, and nothing, there?
If you have, then you know, for you’ve felt its spell,
The lure of the desert land,
And if you have not, then I could not tell—
For you could not understand.
~ Madge Morris Wagner