“In the Desert
In the desert
I saw a creature, naked, bestial,
Who, squatting upon the ground,
Held his heart in his hands,
And ate of it.
I said, “Is it good, friend?”
“It is bitter—bitter,” he answered;
“But I like it
“Because it is bitter,
“And because it is my heart.”
― Stephen Crane, 1895
I wonder about the poor, naked creature. Was it human once -or still is, just doesn’t look and act like it anymore? What made its heart so bitter?
Was it hate? Hatred brings bitterness. It causes desolation, shows us evil and yet so many find a certain pleasure in hating that defies all logic.
Perhaps, the two friends in the desert are both one person, and they represent all of us. At our core, stripped down, we are vulnerable and lonely beasts whose only grand possession is the heart pulsing within. No matter how much we dishonor it, no matter how much we scar it, no matter the beating it takes – it is the one thing we can hold up and say, “This is mine, and it has beauty.” Taking a bite, we can surely taste the anguish and futility and bitterness that can be there. But it is good because it is ours because it has beauty. We put, or allowed, the bitterness in that heart. Just as how we placed, or allowed, all the love and goodness that was, or will be, in that heart as well.
Taking a bite, we can surely taste the anguish and bitterness that can be there. But it is good because it is ours because it has beauty. We allowed the bitterness in our heart. Just as how we allow all the love and goodness that was, or will be, in our heart as well.