I'm dedicating this post to Kirk and Kari, and also to any of my readers who might happen to actually live in Utah, or simply love the place. I hope very much to go one day - though in the meantime, as I think would also please the author of this piece, I'm striving to simply appreciate the beauty of my own native home while I still can. I here present Orson F. Whitney's poem "Home", found in The Poetical Works of Orson F. Whitney (Salt Lake City, UT: Juvenile Instructor Office, 1889), 106-108.
Ye who would brave the bounding billow,
To view the wonders of the world,
And magnify with vain devotion,
The scenes in foreign climes unfurled!
Have ye ne'er dreamed of nearer splendors,
Than beautify an alien strand -
The glorious legacies of nature
Bequeathed unto your native land?
Hast never thought, whilst rapt admiring
The distant starlight overhead,
There may be flowers of beauty blushing
Neglected 'neath thy careless tread?
Ne'er has it been my lot to wander
O'er Orient sands or Alpine snows,
To linger in the vine-clad valleys
Where Rhine's clear, winding water flows;
I ne'er have watched the sun declining
Along the classic Grecian hills,
Nor pressed the plains of Palestina,
Nor mused beside Olympian rills.
But I have stood amidst the thunders,
When shook the towering granite height,
And trembled where the vivid lightnings
Blazed on the angry brow of night.
I've seen the headlong torrent leaping
From crag to cloven gulf beneath,
And caught the snow-slide's whelming terrors
Descending on the wings of death.
Oh, tell me not that grander tempests
Reverberate with louder roar,
On Switzerland's historic summits,
Than on the Rocky Mountains hoar;
That fiercer rolls lauwine, thundering,
Than the snow-slide's fatal thrall,
Or lovelier the Alpine cascade
Than the Wasatch waterfall.
Say not the shores of limpid Leman
Their cultured charms unrivalled hold;
When lakes that lie in yonder mountains
Are rife with beauty unextolled.
Nor praise the skies of soft Italia,
Where suns in glory rise and set,
Till thou hast seen them bathe with brightness
The matchless hills of Deseret.
Sing not of Erin's famed Killarney,
Laud not the wave of Galilee,
For I have sailed the buoyant waters
Of Utah's wondrous saline sea.
I've climbed her everduring mountains,
I've rested in her peaceful vales,
I've quaffed her pure and sparkling streamlets,
I've breathed her life-renewing gales.
I love the land that gave me being;
Her features aye shall seem to me,
More beautiful than boasted marvels
Of all the realms beyond the sea.