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Poems About Arizona

Table of Contents

  1. Arizona by Andrew Downing
  2. The Mesa Wind Blows Soft by Colorado Pete
  3. A Desert Rain by Andrew Downing
  4. The Water-Carrier by Arthur Chapman
  5. The Oasis by Andrew Downing
  6. An Arizona Wind by Edith Franklin Wyatt
  7. Arizona: Windmills by John Gould Fletcher
  8. The Golden Crowned Thrush by Andrew Downing
  9. What Arizona Needs by Andrew Downing
  10. Nightfall in Arizona by Edith Franklin Wyatt
  11. Night in Arizona by Sara Teasdale
  12. The Newest, Brightest Star by Andrew Downing
  13. Arizona, The State by Andrew Downing
  14. Cactus by Alice Corbin
  15. Dust-whorl by Alice Corbin
  16. Grand Canyon of Arizona by John Lee Higgins

  1. Arizona

    by Andrew Downing

    Arizona is peerless, her breezes are soft,
    And mostly her sky is surprisingly fair,
    For "the sweet little cherub" on duty aloft,
    Controlling the tricks of the ambient air,
    Is vigilant always—good-natured enough
    In doing his meteorological stunts;
    Yet sometimes we think, when the weather is rough,
    That he tries to dispense all his products at once.

    Far down the broad continent's vertebral line
    Old Boreas batters the earth with his flail—
    The heavy snows fall in the forests of pine,
    And the zephyrs give way to the bellowing gale.
    But here, in the Salt River valley below,
    The air is as warm as the breath of a child,
    Not even the tiniest flakelets of snow
    Suggesting the winter, uncanny and wild.

    The roses are with us the round rolling year,
    As rich and as regal as Persia can boast,—
    Every flower that is found in the Vale of Cashmere
    Abloom at its best when we prize it the most.
    And then—the ripe oranges, certainly these,
    So large and so luscious, so yellow and bright,
    Are the apples of gold from Hesperides,
    Grown only where life is a dream of delight.

    In lauding the charms of this marvelous land,
    The green of her valleys, the fruit of her vines,
    Her beautiful mountains, her scenery grand,
    Her herds and her orchards, the wealth of her mines,
    The worth of her people, we make no mistake,
    For the whole world attests what so long has been true—
    Arizona was worthy and ready to take
    Her place on the roll with her star in the blue.

  2. The Mesa Wind Blows Soft

    by Colorado Pete

    The Mesa wind blows soft tonight,
    The western stars bend low,
    Self-shadowed in the firelight
    Old dreams, old visions go.

    The mesa wind's a soft caress,
    Cool fingers in my hair;
    Soft whispers out of lonliness
    That breath a lonely prayer...

    O mesa wind go far to her
    With kisses carried high,
    And tell her mountain grasses stir
    And 'wait her passing by;

    Go tell her that the mesa trail
    Lies yellow in the sun,
    And clouds, like dreams, ride white and frail—
    Lost longings, one by one.

  3. A Desert Rain

    by Andrew Downing

    The cool rain poured in sudden haste
    Upon the thirsty sod,
    And life throughout an arid waste
    Rejoices, thanking God.

    Each wild and lonely desert flower
    Is royally arrayed,
    As if in one brief, stormy hour
    The world were newly made.

    Where vagrant breezes stray and waft
    The mesquite's sweet perfume,
    The green sahuaro's fluted shaft
    Lifts high a richer bloom.

    The palo verde blossoms glow
    Like jets of yellow fire,
    And every bird we love and know
    Pipes in the tuneful choir.

    The fair Altruria of the bees,
    Beneath the orange boughs,
    Hears whispered friendships of the trees
    As sweet as lovers' vows.

    Wee desert folk from strife forbear—
    Their deadly conflicts cease,
    As if responsive to the prayer
    For Universal Peace.

    No more on thorns the linnet hangs―
    Slain by the cruel shrike;
    The coiled crotalus sheathes his fangs,
    And does not care to strike.

    Here blooms the world like Aaron's rod,
    New verdure clothes the plain—
    The wondrous miracle of God
    That follows a desert rain!

  4. The Water-Carrier

    Arthur Chapman

    Steep is the trail to the mesa above her—
    Maid of the Zuñi-foik, tall and bare-armed;
    Browned by the kiss of the warm winds that love her—
    Maid whom the desert's breath never has harmed.

    Strange is the view that is stretched far below her—
    White sands that melt in a horizon blue;
    Sea without waves, without sail, without rower—
    Only the cloud-shadows ploughing it through.

    So she has paused, in her bright-colored blanket,
    And steadies the jar, while her breath rises fast,
    At a niche in the trail, where the beetling cliffs flank it,
    As her kindred have paused in the long ages past.

  5. The Oasis

    by Andrew Downing

    Deep in the desert's fiery heart—
    From bloom and verdure far apart—
    A fountain thrust its helping hand
    Up through the arid, burning sand;
    And lo! embroidery of green
    Along its silent course was seen;
    Its waters wandered o'er the plain
    To bless "The Land of Little Rain."

    So in some desert-place of life,
    Where drouth prevails, and storms are rife,
    Some healing fountain, hid from sight,
    Some radiant sun of love and light,
    Some potent sovereign of the hour,
    Asserts its strange, mysterious power—
    Repeats the miracle of spring,
    And sets the desert blossoming.

  6. An Arizona Wind

    by Edith Franklin Wyatt

    The canyon wind blows high and low,
    Her voice calls fresh and deep.
    From mesa, bluff and blue plateau
    Her pine-brushed currents sweep,
    Down turquoise ledge and valley
    And thousand-terraced height
    Past opal drop and alley
    And fawn-veiled stairs of light.

    Of sheep-land, and of cattle-land
    She whispers still and swift.
    Her flight has fanned the painted sand
    Green spur and lilac drift,
    Leapt river-bed and rapid-head
    Down tawny crags and buff,
    Paced caverned gulches dark and red
    And hundred-portaled bluff.

    Her touch stirred pine and piñon ways
    Before the foot of man.
    In Navajo dominion days
    Through peopled cliffs she ran.
    As soon as star and shadow sped,
    Be fore the first green tree,
    Before the Colorado fled,
    Her soul turned towards the sea.

    Oh, manifold and manifold
    The canyon drops away:
    And far the desert shimmers old
    As night, and young as day:
    And wide and free your music plays,
    So dumb, so fully heard,
    Like ocean tides and human ways
    That speak without a word.

    What are you many-chording wind
    And what is it you say,
    As light as life, as light as death,
    Across the vibrant day?
    So high you blow, so low you blow—
    And yet so close and deep,
    I hardly know from my own breath
    The hushing air you keep.

    I hardly know from my own breath
    Your breath of sage and pine.
    My fault, my force, my dream, my death
    Throb in your life divine—
    Divine as desert dust, the rock
    In sapphire depths below
    The vanished cliffman and the flock
    Far on the blue plateau.

  7. Arizona: Windmills

    by John Gould Fletcher

    The windmills, like great sunflowers of steel,
    Lift themselves proudly over the straggling houses;
    And at their feet the deep blue-green alfalfa
    Cuts the desert like the stroke of a sword.

    Yellow melon flowers
    Crawl beneath the withered peach-trees;
    A date-palm throws its heavy fronds of steel
    Against the scoured metallic sky.

    The houses, double-roofed for coolness,
    Cower amid the manzanita scrub.
    A man with jingling spurs
    Walks heavily out of a vine-bowered doorway,
    Mounts his pony, rides away.

    The windmills stare at the sun.
    The yellow earth cracks and blisters.
    Everything is still.

    In the afternoon
    The wind takes dry waves of heat and tosses them
    Mingled with dust, up and down the streets,
    Against the belfry with its green bells:

    And, after sunset, when the sky
    Becomes a green and orange fan,
    The windmills, like great sunflowers on dried stalks,
    Stare hard at the sun they cannot follow.

    Turning, turning, forever turning
    In the chill night-wind that sweeps over the valley,
    With the shriek and the clank of the pumps groaning beneath them,
    And the choking gurgle of tepid water.

  8. The Golden Crowned Thrush

    by Andrew Downing

    O, little bird from Mexico!
    I do not know your story,
    Except—a big book tells me so—
    That you are migratory.

    Of all the friends the seasons bring
    Your loyalty is surest;
    You go in autumn, come in spring—
    You're not a winter tourist.

    I may have seen a bonny bird
    Arrayed in finer feather;
    But when your mating-song I heard,
    It held me like a tether.

    Then trill for me your carol clear,
    O, blithe and welcome comer,
    For well I know how much you cheer
    An Arizona summer.

  9. What Arizona Needs

    by Andrew Downing

    Has some prospect better pleased you?
    Did you ever lift your eye
    Anywhere in any country—
    To a fairer, bluer sky?
    Ever breathe an air diviner,
    Ever know a land confessed
    Half so rich and full of promise
    As this wonderful Southwest?
    Then surely you have visited
    The Islands of the Blest.

    Did you ever note the splendor—
    That is baffling and supreme
    As the fairest, finest picture
    That can fill a poet's dream—
    Of a shifting, long procession
    Of the white clouds, one by one,
    When they reddened down the roadway
    Of the far-off, setting sun?
    Then you've been in Arizona
    When a glorious day was done!

    You have said there's something nobler
    Than the cataract which falls
    'Twixt Ontario and Erie
    Over adamantine walls;
    And the Yellowstone attraction
    You concede can scarce be spanned
    Even in imagination,—
    Yet a greater is at hand.
    Then we know you've seen the Canyon
    Which is justly called the Grand.

    Having rich, abundant treasures,
    And ideals high and pure,
    We shall build our civic temple
    Making its foundations sure.
    Heaven sends us dauntless leaders—
    Lack of them all progress mars—
    Men who measure with our mountains,
    Men as strong as iron bars,—
    Men whose purposes are lofty
    As the orbits of the stars.

  10. Nightfall in Arizona

    by Edith Franklin Wyatt

    Black blows the cottonwood. Coolness abiding
    Thrills in the air with the snow of the stars.
    Navajo, Navajo, where are you riding?
    Clear breathes the night on the plains' opal bars.

    Long past the desert, the creek dry and stony,
    Fleet on your trail towards the mountains' dark rim,

    Far, far away cries your whinnying pony
    High on the mesa's empurpling brim.

    Distant tonight are my tribe and her cities,
    Turbine and factory, engine and wheel,
    Prides and disgraces and honors and pities,
    Stone wall and brick wall and riveted steel.

    Here where your flocks and your cattle are ranging,
    Hogan and wickieup stand in the swale
    Blanket and basket are trade and exchanging,
    Traveler, tell me the end of your trail.

    Free through the cool star-lit silences blowing
    Throbs the swift night on your way's darkened blue.
    Navajo, Navajo, where are you going?
    Where your long trail ends mine will end too.

  11. Night in Arizona

    by Sara Teasdale

    The moon is a charring ember
    Dying into the dark;
    Off in the crouching mountains
    Coyotes bark.

    The stars are heavy in heaven,
    Too great for the sky to hold—
    What if they fell and shattered
    The earth with gold?

    No lights are over the mesa,
    The wind is hard and wild,
    I stand at the darkened window
    And cry like a child.

  12. The Newest, Brightest Star

    by Andrew Downing

    August ???, 1911

    An imperial state is born!
    Morning breaks—a glorious morn!
    After more than twenty years,
    Full of struggles, fraught with fears,
    Spite of her imagined sins,
    Proudly Arizona wins;
    Comes in triumph to her own,
    Wears the purple, mounts the throne!

    There were giants in her path,
    Like the mighty one of Gath.
    Base Detraction dragged her down,—
    Envy plucking at her gown;
    But a slender shepherd took
    Smooth, round pebbles from the brook;
    Smote her foes between the eyes,—
    Stripped False Friendship of disguise.

    Grandly, as befits a queen,
    Stately, smiling and serene,
    Gracious in her crowning hour,
    Conscious of her sovereign power,
    She is welcomed by her mates
    To the sisterhood of states,
    And goes forward, brave and free,
    To her splendid destiny.

    One who loves her ne'er forgets
    Any of her rich assets;
    Wealth of forests, mountains, mines,
    Fertile valleys, orchards, vines;
    Herd and harvest, flock and fleece,—
    Marvelous their great increase;
    Winter roses, orange trees,
    Ruddy health in sun and breeze.

    Therefore, joyful people, shout!
    Fling the starry banner out!
    From a stainless field of blue
    Shines a Star, undimmed and new.
    Until now its brightest beams
    Have illumined but our dreams;
    Now 'tis neither faint nor far—
    Hail the Newest, Brightest Star!

  13. Arizona, The State

    by Andrew Downing

    We salute Arizona, the State our cheers are exultant and loud!
    The dawning has come and the sunburst, the sunburst that follows the cloud.
    The road to her triumph seemed endless, the path has been rough for her feet;
    It led through a desolate Edom, a desert-place throbbing with heat.
    Yet she is no tearful Dolores to yield to a womanish whim,
    But strong and unbending in purpose and supple in body and limb.
    Her baffled traducers have vanished, the last of her foes have gone down,
    And Law and Authority vest her today with the scepter and crown.

    Her dower is regal and splendid, 'tis rich as the gold of her mines;
    Her spirit is lofty and buoyant and fresh as the green of her pines.
    As long as she keeps her ideal as high as the hope of the race,
    Her rule shall be ever benignant, as the smile that illumines her face.
    With leagues of gray, sand-covered desert, her realm is a wonderland rare—
    High mountains, grand canyons, green valleys immersed in a life-giving air.
    The seeker is ever rewarded,—there are gems, there are fruits, there are flowers,
    And a climate Italian in mildness. What fortune so goodly as ours!

    We know that the Toltecs and Aztecs were here when the old world was new,
    Though the dust of the sepulchered ages has buried them deep from our view;
    For ruin are left to remind us what manner of people they were—
    Soil-tillers, home-builders, and rest of the record a blur.
    So the race that reclaims and repeoples the land of the arid Southwest
    Shall, in virtue and knowledge and culture, take rank with the highest and best.
    Many stars gem the blue of Old Glory, their rays on the multitude fall,
    But the Forty-Eighth star shall be counted the fairest and brightest of all.

    Forget not the men who came early, the van guard of brave pioneers,
    Who blazed out the pathway for others back there in the strenuous years;
    Who fought with the cruel Apaches, baptizing the land with their blood;
    Who conquered the treacherous desert, and harnessed the recreant flood;
    Who harried the mountains for treasure, out side of the settlement's hem—
    The men who have made this occasion a surety—give honor to them!
    For they are as truly state-builders as any the commonwealth knows,—
    They struggled unselfishly always with little reward or repose.

    What means this endowment of statehood that meets with such happy acclaim?
    Is it merely investing the chosen with dignities, honors and fame?
    It means higher civic achievement, more wholesome, more pertinent laws;
    And the state shall herself be a helper and leader in every good cause.
    Safeguarding the rights of the people, conserving the freedom of all,
    No danger that fronts her shall daunt her, no fear of disaster appall.
    Keeping step to the newer world-music, her banner of Progress unfurled,
    Her glory shall brighten and broaden, her fame shall be wide as the world!

  14. Cactus

    Alice Corbin

    The cactus scrawls crude hieroglyphs against the sky;
    It reaches with twisted, inquisitive fingers
    To clutch the throat of something and question

  15. Dust-whorl

    Alice Corbin

    The wind picks up a handful of dust,
    And sets it down—
    Faint spiral of lives
    Lived long ago on the desert.

  16. Grand Canyon of Arizona

    by John Lee Higgins

    Grim was the deep wild hollow
    Where a silver ribbon poured,
    Gulping the rocks that follow,
    Thundering as it bored.

    The temples were massive and red,
    The turrets and cupolas pearled;
    The olive slopes were curtains spread
    Draping under the world.

    I looked on the wide swung portals
    Of ghost haunted temples below
    For a pageant of brilliant immortals
    To enter and set them aglow.

    The jack pines raised their spires
    Out of a sea of sun
    Where the forest streaked with reddening fires
    Till the earth and the sky were one.

    I was thrilled in the mellow moonlight
    That heaped the pit to the rim
    With a yellow flood as the quivering night
    Was stealthily entering in.

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