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The Well at the Desert’s Heart by Tony Bowland

What breaks when the heart is broken?
Not the heart,
Only the thin shell I wrote my name on,
Only the house that stood for years shaking.

The Well at the Desert’s Heart – Verses of Healing offers a trove of insights in verses of remarkable beauty and perception that emerge through the depths of grief and heights of love into a wider appreciation of life.

Alone, wraithlike, I walk through this landscape,
With the ghost of a child for company.

I follow him, walking in his footsteps,
He is leading me back, back to the place,
Where my soul first woke to the world’s beauty,
When the limitless sky and I were one.

This book explores the soul’s moments of deep anguish and grief, finding a way through the greatest losses while processing difficult emotions.

Speechless by the sea in the early dawn,
Watching the buzzard climb the spiralled air,
I can’t reach you my love with my tired words,
So I build with my prayer a bridge of light.

In Bowland’s evocative descriptions of being out in the fenland landscape of Cambridgeshire, meditative and reflective words act as a healing balm finding a wholeness in the natural world –

I seek the quiet places by the river
And I stand still for hours in the clearing
Till I know my self as the quiet place
And the clearing for the indwelling light

Encouraging us to examine our sense of identity, and advising ‘To this moment surrender your story’, this collection promotes integration on an individual and collective level, a rejection of othering, and a deeper connection to ourselves, to one another, to nature and to God. Drawing on Sufi mysticism and informed by an anti-war stance, it presents a healing vision of oneness, and conveys the essential message in our polarised world that ‘No ‘identity’ needs to self-defend’.

Listen, who we are is mysterious,
there is no ‘you and I’, no ‘us and them’


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