March 19, 2010

Mornin' on the Desert

This old family photo, dating from just after the turn of the century shows a cabin in the Millcreek area of the Salt Lake Valley near the old family farm at 3900 S. and 400 E. Today this area is heavily urbanized and paved over with endless miles of concrete and asphalt. The woman standing in the door is noted as a Mrs. Butler, 91 years old and that with one tooth she can still eat beefsteak and Indian corn. Looking closely at the photo, the flower garden stands out as well as the solid brick chimney of the small wooden cabin. In a way it reminds me of the poem often recited by Jerry Brooks -

Mornin' on the Desert
by Kathrine Fall Pettey

Mornin' on the desert, and the wind is blowin' free,
And it's ours, jest for the breathin', so let's fill up, you and me.
No more stuffy cities, where you have to pay to breathe,
Where the helpless human creatures move and throng and strive and seethe.

Mornin' on the desert, and the air is like a wine,
And it seems like all creation has been made for me and mine.
No house to stop my vision, save a neighbor's miles away,
And a little 'dobe shanty that belongs to me and May.

Lonesome? Not a minute: Why I've got these mountains here,
That was put here just to please me, with their blush and frown and cheer.
They're waiting when the summer sun gets too sizzlin' hot,
An' we jest go campin' in 'em with a pan and coffee pot.

Mornin' on the desert-- I can smell the sagebrush smoke.
I hate to see it burnin', but the land must sure be broke.
Ain't it jest a pity that wherever man may live,
He tears up so much that's beautiful that the good God has to give?

"Sagebrush ain't so pretty?" Well, all eyes don't see the same,
have you ever seen the moonlight turn it to a silvery flame?
An' that greasewood thicket yonder -- well, it smells jest awful sweet,
When the night wind has been shakin' it -- for its smell is hard to beat.

Lonesome? Well, I guess not! I've been lonesome in a town.
But I sure do love the desert with its stretches wide and brown.
All day through the sagebrush here the wind is blowin' free.
An' it's ours jest for the breathin', so let's fill up, you and me.

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1 comment:

  1. Hear Hear. I'm glad someone took the effort to give the proper credit. By the way, you may not know that the poem was published in 1910 in book called "Songs From the Sage Brush."