Skip to content

"The Demon in the Desert"

This poem is a literary account of my intense spiritual experience in the Negev Desert, Israel, during Birthright 2012.

“The Negev is a mystical place,

A vast, empty space

Of lore that renews the sore

And breathes life

To those in strife,”

The rabbis once stated

About this world that had been created.


I heard this in a dream,

A fleeting state of consciousness

Flowing like an unsteady stream.


What is the essence of my being?

I tumbled in my slumber,

My deep-seated fears tormentously disagreeing

As I question my capacity

For good and for bad.


A bitter chill percolated down my spine

As I imagined the Negev.

I would go there soon, I knew,

And find the answers to my questions

That I hope were true.


Under the curtain of night,

I awoke.

The Quarter-Moon emanated its sacred light.

Nobody spoke.

The Desert was calling.


I wandered the expanse,

Exploring by myself the nature

Of the experience I pondered.


The Negev is a silent sea of stones.

It has rippling hills of ragged rocks

Where time’s reach is unknown.


The cobbles quietly listened

To my thoughts as the constellations glistened

Against an ageless gradient

Of splendid celestial radiance.


How I looked up to them

As they empowered me

With heavenly, healing truth.


Andromeda’s stardust shimmered.

Within my telltale heart I felt a stir

Of silent lucidity

In the chilled air

Devoid of humidity.


The day’s heat dissipated.

My emotions flared larger than anticipated

As a pulse of repressed anger,

The final vestige of chronic anger,

Overtook me.


I collapsed cross-legged to the earth,

Clouded by foggy visions that foretold my rebirth.

Nothing is as simple as it seems,

For I must fight to be free

From the chains that bind

And the actions that blind

The mind.


I meditated where I once stood,

Inconsolably overwhelmed with pent-up rage.

Into the ground I channeled it.

I invoked the demons I had to face.


It was the decision I chose,

To consciously unchain myself of laments,

Regrets, and woes.

I would clear the air

And let everything…just…go.


With agonizing force,

I pressed my palms

Against the frozen earth.

I would exorcise myself

For all I was worth.


Amidst the chaos

The Negev was strong and silent.

Not a sound could be heard.

As I came to terms with myself,

I could not speak a word.


In the deafening quiet,

My myriad mentations materialized.


I wrought with my thoughts

As I struggled to let them go.

I heaved my heart to the surface,

That much I felt and know.


The piercing desert cold that permeated my soul

Turned to pervasive warmth.

How could this be so?


My icy spirit rushed

As the glaciers in my heart

Melted to slush.

The antifreeze in my veins

Was blood once again

As a wide smile

Took over my face.


I grabbed a pebble and clenched,

As memories entrenched

Flashed before me.


I would diffuse them through transference.

Those demons would bow in deference

To my renewed spiritual might.


The dead-wick caught fire

As my soul combusted

For the first time in years.

How uncanny had I been brought

To mirthful tears.


The “Old Me” had died

As the pyre began to burn.

In a heartbeat,

My motivation had returned.


Gone were the assimilation and hate.

I was walking on the moon

When the Negev yielded

A gift humbling and great.


The Desert had kindled my inner candle,

The blazing blue beacon to harness and to handle

And, ultimately, wield as a shield.


With a flourish of this newfound power I was nourished.

The pressure had dissolved.

No longer did my lovelorn spirit lust for longing.

My will had been resolved.


The Negev is a mystical place,

A rocky sea of ancestral memories

That permeates time and space.

It is my heritage.


“The desert is always colder at night,”

The rabbis said of the sun’s respite.

“Moisture is rare and sparse

In this environment unfamiliar and harsh.

But, if we look carefully,

Great abundance can be found.”


I remembered this saying

As I looked inside my internal desert, praying.

I was the demon in the desert,

A lost, burnt-out soul on the mound.


My darkness had been inverted

As the light could not be averted.

At last in myself I found

The elusive joy that had left me spellbound.


In the strife my spirit had been reborn.

No longer was I helpless and torn.

Under the curtain of the night,

I discovered I had the might

To let it all go.


Such is the power of the Negev,

Whose great abundance is hidden.

With enough focus and attention,

It shows us,

Even our greatest demons—ourselves—

Can be overridden.

Leave a Note!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: