Yesterday I attended a writing workshop—something I haven’t made time for in a while. It was held in an older part of Tucson, and we had access to a nice backyard where, during the meditative writing time,IMG_2165 I found myself inspired by a monumental prickly pear cactus. Using this phrase from Abraham Joshua Heschel as inspiration, the following poem flowed from my fingertips and I offer it for your own inspiration.

Can a flower, worlds away from the source of energy, attain a perception of its origin?

Taller than the greenhouse,

Reaching past the power lines,

Seeking power greater

Than that of human origin

Branching testimony to years of steady


Silent growth.

Olive green

Reaching outward

Juicy and yet well-defended

Slowly giving way to brown,


Bark-like stiffness.

Age supporting youth

Rough foundation sustains a fleshy beauty

Not without its own

White-speckled imperfections.

We have never lived in one place long enough to

Grow cacti large enough for trees.

What do we gain with these constant moves?





And somewhere on Foraker Street

Four houses ago

A prickly pear we planted

Continues to rise toward the sun.

We may never see its maturity

But someone else will feast eyes upon its



Silent growth

And begin to understand.

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