In the Desert

In the Desert
By Stephen Crane

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.”

I read a lot of analysis of this poem. Usually desert and heart referred as metaphors which I will not contest. However, I think message is much simpler in this poem.

Creature and narrator are the same, that is why narrator refers to creature as a “friend.” The heart and “eating of once heart” is all the self-distraction we human beings do to ourselves. We do not just distract our own being, but we also “like” doing so. Despite heart being bitter; the creature (same as narrator) likes eating of it: “because it is my heart.”

Finally, does not matter how one reads this poem, it is hunting, shockingly detached and beautiful. More so beautiful because is so short, minimalist in words, but powerful.

P.S. Please do not act as my landlord who insults me on my inability to write and understand English. My English may not be perfect, but I love words and poetry and I speak 3 languages too.

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