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The desert and the parched land will be glad; the wilderness will rejoice
and ­blossom. Like the crocus, it will burst into bloom; it will rejoice greatly
and shout for joy
.”The Book of Isaiah

A desert needs only an orphan’s portion of rain on seeds deep and dormant
For acres of ochre to burst, sun-touched, sun-torched, into desert orchids.
Merchants converged from all over, loads of opal, topaz, nacre, sapphire.
Nomads traversed it, like thoughts crossing a beast’s brow. No one brought fire.
No one knew there was an ulterior fuse of faith here to be found
Until he arrived, exulted, scattered his verses on the secretly gravid ground,
Touching off stem and stamen, blossoms flaming aloft, rife, red,
As the faith spread life to life and oasis into roseate oasis bled.