In Xinjiang the world is dry.
The mountains scrape the bright blue sky
With lifeless peaks of solid stone,
And I amongst strangers, was never alone.

There, the oases , their streets full of trees
And bagels and children, were life at its knees…
Where things could be bought, where no one had seen
Someone like I was, when I was eighteen.

The desert men, whose tired old eyes
Gazed with faintly veiled surprise,
Scrutinized my dim disguise
And made my memories despise
Nights I’d trembled, days I’d cried,
Tears I’d wasted, drowned inside
Years of shame and broken pride.

They gazed without mercy, their eyes breathing fire,
Dark like the gypsies of seething desire.
They followed my footsteps, they swallowed my breath,
They bathed in my shadows, entreated my death.

I met the men of paradise
Upon a sea of amber ice…
Traveling with the turning tide.
But I dared to dive inside
The fading lives, before they died.

I sat for hours and watched and heard
Every whisper, every word
Of broken, barely breathing stories,
Stained in pain and worthless glories.

In Xinjiang, I cast my eyes
Easily upon the skies,
And I tore my life apart.
I glanced within a broken heart.
I breathed upon the burning bars
And made myself a sea of stars.

Beyond the far side of the sky,
Half forgotten, faded, far,
There lies a land where shadows die…
Beyond the winds that sweep the stars.

Be it home or be it heaven,
It lies loved, or lost, forgiven.
You may recall, but though I try
I’ve music for a memory.
I only search myself and sigh.

I only wish I still were free.
I only wish I could remember
The meaning of the mystery,
The meaning of my Red November,
Who haunts and holds my history.

Beauty breathes in every glance
You care to cast on earth or sea,
And all your life becomes a dance
If you decide it ought to be.

– Written by Anna Williams at age 21

About Anna

Anna Vera Williams is a poet, a photographer, a blogger, and a webmaster. She is the webmaster of Poems, Poets, & Poetry, which provides poetry resources and allows other poets to showcase their work. Her photographs can be found at Anna Vera's Photography, and her books and photos can be purchased at

View all posts by Anna


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