lessons from the desert

by Amy Cannon


if a passionate thought enters my heart       how should I reject it?

by contradiction?       rebuke?       by hastening toward god?


brother       the passions are afflictions       demons to be cast out

silence is good in every case       what more do you want?


when a thought enters       cut it short immediately

unending vigilance is required


remember you are earth       and shall return to it

empty as the dead       reckon yourself as nothing


taking not too little nor too much       keep to the simple way

giving up self-trust       and self-deceit


die to everyone       a true exile

carefree of all       you will find god


remain modest       do not believe

you have done any good


in unceasing prayer       sit and learn to weep

these things       will yield a hundredfold 




Amy Katherine Cannon is a writer and writing teacher living in Los Angeles. She received her MFA from UC Irvine, where she was the recipient of the Gerard Creative Writing Endowment. She is the author of the mini-chapbook ‘to make a desert’ (Platypus Press, 2016). Her work can be found in BOAAT, BODY, Juked, and LIT, among other places. She is Managing Editor of Palaver Arts Magazine, a student publication.