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Poem: The Copper Desert

Updated on May 26, 2011

 When I was in college I wrote a series of poems about my life with Jesus. Prose has come to be more my medium, but the poems were very meaningful to me at the time, and they continue to be. Every so often I pull them all out and read them again.

This one probably says the most about my journey with Him. It was inspired by a dream I had as a teenager, a dream which kept intruding into my life for the next 20 years. I took some poetic license in the poem (it isn't an exact description of the dream - more an expression of the atmosphere of it.)

St Louis Canyon Waterfall
St Louis Canyon Waterfall | Source
Red Rock Canyon
Red Rock Canyon | Source
Box Canyon Falls
Box Canyon Falls | Source

The Copper Desert

Once I found the copper desert,

warm to the touch.

High walls,


the sun’s gaze heavy

and dry

and only the painted lizards


in clear heated air.

Near sunset

light fell like


water drops

one by one

like the touch of light fingertips

like the palm of his hand


on my head.

The place grew more still

and free,

a red panorama, long


the weight

of his eyes on me

like the air before

a storm.

Stars whitened

into the near dawn sky.


of outline, rocks,


and on the ridge above

a hunting owl

poised as the moon

before it fades.

The dream that inspired the poem

In the dream I was with a big group of people out in the desert, and we were waiting for Jesus. Then, all the others were suddenly gone, and Jesus took me alone down into a canyon. The sides of the canyon were beautifully sculpted sandstone, a resonant orange color. It was deep and narrow, and a light waterfall came from above, more like droplets than a pouring stream. Only a slice of the blue sky above could be seen because of the canyon's curving walls. Jesus wrapped a long white gauzy cloth around me untill I was completely covered, then placed me under the waterfall. He let the water completely saturate the cloth (this took awhile), then gently drew me out and unwound the cloth. It unfurled as though there was a strong wind, though I didn't feel a wind. Down at one end of this long white banner was a circle, about 12 inches diameter, that was now colored with the same deep orange of the canyon wall. Although He didn't speak, I understood that Jesus was telling me that the white cloth represented myself, and the (rather small) orange circle represented how much of His nature was in me at this time. He also intimated (again without words), that the circle would grow and grow throughout my life, meaning that His nature inside me would grow.

Life goes on

I treasured the dream, considered it a promise He had given me. But my life went on, I went to college, married, had two babies. One evening, with my husband away on a business trip and both kids down for the night, I sat in the livingroom folding laundry, the TV on to a documentary to give me some company. I wasn't really listening to the program, I was thinking about how mundane my life of diapers, naptime and grocery shopping had become. I thought over the dream, how I had believed great things would happen in my life, and after all I had become such an ordinary suburban mom. Then suddenly I heard the background murmer of the television: "I was in a canyon with high orange walls, only a long narrow slice of the sky was visible, and a very light waterfall was coming from above." I snapped to attention. The documentary was about an explorer who set out to canoe through all the canyons which would be flooded when the Hoover Dam was built. She had protested the building of the dam because these lovely canyons would all end up underwater, but the conservationists lost that battle. The canyon she had just been describing, the one that bore a striking resemblence to the one in my dream, was called Glen Canyon.

Though my life had become, it seemed, very mundane, I took this as a message from Him that His promise was as alive as ever.

Antelope Canyon
Antelope Canyon | Source


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    • graceomalley profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      SkySlave - Than you for visiting! I'm glad you enjoyed my work.

    • SkySlave profile image

      Skyler DeCristoforo 

      6 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Truly enjoyed this writing! It took my mind away from life in the city, at least for a few moments. The photos are fantastic too. Something amazing and spiritual comes to life in the desert. Its almost unexplainable.

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 

      7 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Voted up, beautiful and awesome. The power of dreams is amazing. When you hear about one of them in the future, it's just one of those things that makes you go, "hmmmm."

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      yes I think it's the Crystal sea... mentioned in the bible... it's very intimate and very sensual which I have realized as I have known Him more and more... my relationship does not mimic those taught by the church... that bothers me as a traditionalist but is very exhilarating in the freedom of worship... the release is almost unbelievable at times... supernatural I think some might say...

    • graceomalley profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      That's a beautiful dream Jeanine. I take it this is the sea of glass in heaven.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Very nice read Grace, I was there for a moment... I do have a recurring dream...

      alone with my love...the West bank of the Crystal sea, under a single giant cypress reminding me of Lebanon, He whispers to me... holds me and softly saying, I am His and He is in me... like glass a sea of calm, the setting sun pales in comparison to moments of intimacy... being loved by a God...

    • graceomalley profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      maven 101 - You described the poem in quite poetic terms :)

      Glad you enjoyed it.

    • maven101 profile image


      8 years ago from Northern Arizona

      Lovely poetic pictures writ with a flowing rhythm that ended with a posed poignancy that lingered in my mind...

      Voted up and beautiful...Thanks, Larry

    • graceomalley profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      no body - Thank you for sharing this about your internal life. I feel I know very little about what other Christians experience.

      I can only think you and I are equal in our opportunity to be close to Him. We're all individuals to Him of course, but every one of us is alike in being a fallen creature He loves regardless. I think He sees ahead to the complete redemption He will bring within us, and so our shortcomings don't trouble Him.

    • no body profile image

      Robert E Smith 

      8 years ago from Rochester, New York

      I have known Jesus as my personal Lord and Savior since '78 and never have I had a dream where He walked and spoke with me. I think that I feel so unworthy to be in His presence that the whole dream would have been either me crying and not able to say a word or confessing and saying I am sorry for the pain I put Him through. Anyway, it must have been amazing to be so free with Jesus even in a dream story.

    • graceomalley profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      JS Matthew & kephrira - thanks for reading, I'm glad you liked the poem! Finding great pictures for my hubs is very satisfying.

    • kephrira profile image


      8 years ago from Birmingham

      Nice poem, and I love the pictures you put with it.

    • J.S.Matthew profile image

      JS Matthew 

      8 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Beautiful Writing! I'm Inspired!


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