Saturday, June 27, 2009

Desert Poetry

We're in Arizona, visiting Emily. It's been a long time, maybe 5 years, since I've been here. Intellectually, I remember that the temperature exceeds 115 regularly; biologically, my body is incapable of adjusting to that reality.
I want to apologize to all you family and friends for dragging you to Arizona in June for our wedding. Yesterday, we took our kids to see the Mesa temple, thinking they might have some passing interest in THE place that facilitated their existence. We couldn't even get a good picture, everyone was moaning and complaining that their lives were in peril.
It made me think of this poem that was taped up on the wall in my dad's office. I was 11 or 12 when I read it for the first time, and I thought it was the most pithy, witty poem I had ever read. I'll put it in brown in honor of the landscape.
The devil wanted a place on earth

Sort of a summer home

A place to spend his vacation Whenever he wanted to roam.

So he picked out Arizona A place both wretched and rough Where the climate was to his liking And the cowboys hardened and tough.

He dried up the streams in the canyons And ordered no rain to fall He dried up the lakes in the valleys Then baked and scorched it all.

Then over his barren country He transplanted shrubs from hell.

. . .

Then he made scorpions and lizards And the ugly old horned toad. He placed spiders of every description Under rocks by the side of the road.

Then he ordered the sun to shine hotter, Hotter and hotter still. Until even the cactus wilted And the old horned lizard took ill.

. . .

'Twas summer now and Satan lay By a prickly pear to rest. The sweat rolled off his swarthy brow So he took off his coat and vest.

"By Golly, " he finally panted, "I did my job too well, I'm going back to where I came from, Arizona is hotter than Hell."

Next Up: Overdosing on Nostalgia . . . OR . . . "You Can't Go Home Again Angel"

7 comments:

Diane L said...

I love the poem. I've never seen it before, and it expresses well how I feel about Arizona. I've always maintained that Arizona was made so people would repent. If anyone visited Arizona, they would know they did not want to go to hell.

Your wedding was hot. The reception was blessedly cool because of the storm that came in. At the temple Paul told the girls they couldn't complain of the heat. I told them to come be with me, and we could complain together. It was all well worth it! Back then you were acclimated and it probably didn't seem too bad.

elnaclark said...

I really love that poem also. It is way too hot a place for me. I always have admired President Kimball and his family for living there - pre air conditioning - and not complaining.

Your wedding was really hot - but I don't think it was as hot as I felt in Gilmore Texas for John's wedding. I also remember that the reception was wonderful and nice. I don't remember my children fussing but I am certain they did.

R said...

I've heard it's like living in a hair dryer. I love the poem... It sounds like something your dad would have hung up.

e said...

i love arizona!

Amy Martinsen said...

I don't know if I should be allowed to comment, having just recently slipped into my "I live in a hell-hole called Mesa, therefore I will be bitter toward all" attitude, which happens this time every year...even though I have lived here MY ENTIRE LIFE.
I will try my best to be pleasant. I REALLY liked that poem...it spoke to my bitter soul - but I will not share it with Rick - who would really like it too - because it will stoke the fire of his "isn't the desert beautiful this time of year" attitude...and I refuse to do it!
I've rambled - it's hot - sweat is running down my back - I live in a place Satan made - I apologize.

Carol F. said...

I've lived in lovely places with four seasons and lots of green but I still find myself dreaming of Arizona. While at BYU I would think of the gravel on the shoulder of the road on Horne. I wanted gravel. While living in Minneapolis I would dream of red canyon walls and gravel and rocks. Next time can you come in February? I will show you rivers of poppies and purple lupine that take my breath away. But yes, it is not a great time of year right now. Except for watermelon! Watermelon is cheap and delicious in Arizona right now.

laura said...

whenever i think of mesa, i think of your wedding and being hot! i also remember thinking it was worth it because you were so beautiful! and your brothers were cute. i think i was 14. don't hold my memories against me.