Jul 29, 2012

On Saving those Precious Words

By Jennifer Debenham

Not too long ago I wrote a post in which I praised the beauty of the desert. What I didn't mention, however, is that I spent hours at that time desperately searching for a poem about the desert, which I had written some years before but which had been left on a computer that died two computers before my current one. (Does anyone else go through computers this fast?)

Because the computer I had written the poem on had so completely died, I never got my work off of it before it went to computer heaven. I remembered posting the poem on a family website, so my only hope was that it would still be there--hidden somewhere among the many files. I never did find the poem for that post. A couple weeks ago, however, after I awoke early one morning, unable to sleep anymore, I decided to return to the family website and renew my searching. After several hours I found it.

The lesson was clear. Back up your files. I'm not saying this poem is going to win me the Pulitzer or anything, but it has sentimental value because, with the exception of my four-year stint to western Washington, I've always lived in the desert. And it wasn't until I had this "A-ha" moment that I actually realized I do love the desert. Good thing too, since I'm sorta stuck here!

To Nevada—

I didn’t love you at first glance.

For I was bought by greener scenes—
The meadow splashed with rain-dropped flow’rs,
The tree-washed grove of glist’ning greens,
Or ocean ‘scape midst crashing waves;
While you my untrained eyes demeaned.

For could I quench my thirst for lush
With endless sage-soaked highway lines
Unrolling past my farthest view
To slice in half a dismal find
Of dust and rock and windblown weed?
Not so for eyes so unrefined.

Then to my sight there came a view
Of sun-kissed mounts of every hue
Where golden hill meets tow’ring peak
That swells and folds, a secret keeps,
Then reaches to the sunset sky
That blushes while the clouds drift by.

I wondered how I’d been so blind.
Before my sight could never find
The beauty past the highway side
Where shades magnificent confide
A splendor only open to
A mind enlightened to your view.

I started this poem as I drove across the Nevada desert and realized I had long overlooked the mountainous landscape that enhances Nevada’s unique beauty. The rhyme pattern change that starts in the 3rd stanza is intentional as if my mind, now enlightened, now puts thoughts together more easily (with more obvious rhyme too). The last two stanzas were the easiest to write also, kind of like having an "aha moment."


  1. I am going to need a poetry appreciation class myself giggle but it sounds great. Where did you come from to Nevada?

  2. I enjoyed your poem. I grew up in Western Montana and moved to AZ as a teenager. it took me years to come to appreciate the unique beauty of the desert, but I do love it too. (just not the heat!)
    Great reminder to back things up, too.

  3. I grew up in Reno, Nevada and have stayed mostly in desert areas like southern California, Utah, and Nevada. The past 4 years I lived in beautiful, GREEN western Washington--in Issaquah--and loved every minute of rain. But I recently moved back to a small town in Nevada called Spring Creek.


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