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Living in a Dry Land: poems by Nolo Segundo

Sahara dust, image by Qlug, on Pixabay

Quintessence of Dust

[With a nod to the Bard]

We are the moving dust,

we are the breathing dust,

we are the seeing dust,

we are the living dust.

But how, you ask, and rightly

so, can dust fall asleep,

dreaming of places unknown

and lovers unmet—how can

dust imagine whole worlds

and love with one heart for

sixty winters and sixty summers?

And do the notes that stir life

come also from dust, just a

little dust, and nothing more?

When the music is played

and dust dances with dust,

and dust laughs with dust,

and soon dust loves dust,

can dust ever understand

the paradox of its own

being, from dust to dust?

Not until the winds come,

the warm winds of Eternity,

will dust be blown away,

leaving the unseen soul

alive, to walk and breathe

and dance and love, bathed

forever in the dustless Light.


Living in a Dry Land

They who choose to live in a dry land

must live a very dry life— 

too parched to sing, too dried out by what

they call “reason” to see they have made

it hollow, a partial thing, a blind thing… 

They have made their world so arid even

hope is scorched while the human is left

desiccated, no wetness left for good or

evil, not even for the inscrutable miracle

of love—

for in their sere minds all of life shrivels,

left scorched, withered—burnt fragments

that were once honor, courage, faith—now 

they see only an empty desert bounded by 

death, extinction, nothingness… 

A man once came to them, to that desert

their seared souls had made. He offered

them water, water to quench their thirst,

to moisten their minds, to make green 

and lush once again their world, all done

with water, the holiest of water that would 

lead them from a paradise to Paradise.

A few drank of the water, the water of

life and hope and awareness—

the water of Eternity—

but the others refused it, fearing the

man who brought it so much, 

they killed him.

Two thousand years later, 

some drink from His water of Life

and others choose a shriveled life,

too dry for hope, too dead for any



Nolo Segundo (his pen name) has been published in more than 50 literary journals

in the US, UK, Canada, Romania, India, and Italy the past few years since he began

writing again after a 35-year hiatus. He doesn't know why the poems started coming

to him again, but suspects they come from someplace deeper than the unconscious

mind—his soul.

As a young man, he did not believe in either soul or God—not until, at 24, he suffered

a major clinical depression and, in an attempt to escape to what he thought would be extinction, nothingness, he leapt off a bridge into a Vermont river. The near-death experience he had was not of the “white light” sort—it was terrible, actually, but he

has come to thank God for it all.

Fifty years later, he’s still trying to understand all of it, but he knows that chance is the

real illusion, and the problem with sentient human life is not that it is meaningless—

the only logical conclusion to atheism—but that there is so much meaning in virtually

every moment we can only grasp a portion of it.

He is the author of two books: The Enormity of Existence, and Of Ether and Earth.

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