And Now, a Poem About a Saguaro

Longtime readers of Arizona Highways know that we used to publish poetry submissions from our readers. We abandoned that practice in the 1980s, but we still get an occasional submission via mail or email. We recently received this one from Sherry Machen, who lives in Green Valley but (we gather) is a Minnesota native.

A Minnesotan Talks to a Saguaro
by Sherry Machen

You big old cactus!

You’re so sharp
And you don’t give shade.

You’re for the birds –
Holes in your heart their nests.

Wrens cheer from your head
Where white flowers bloom.

I don’t want to love you –
You’re no oak.

But your huge, outstretched arms
Make me want to cry.

Photo: Greg McCown | Saguaro National Park

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Comments

What in the hell does someone who says a saguaro doesn't give shade really know about saguaros? Saguaros definitely do give shade. All you have to do is spend a little time in the desert during hot sunny days to know saguaros provide lots of shade. I've sat in saguaro shade many times to avoid the cooking desert sun. This Minnesotan's poem about a saguaro is awful and does NOT deserve to appear in print. I am glad saguaros aren't oaks. If you want oak trees go somewhere other than the Sonoran desert.

Be kind. Poems are written from the author's heart and vision, not yours. You want a better poem? Write your own.

What in the hell does someone who says a saguaro doesn't give shade really know about saguaros? Saguaros definitely do give shade. All you have to do is spend a little time in the desert during hot sunny days to know saguaros provide lots of shade. I've sat in saguaro shade many times to avoid the cooking desert sun. This Minnesotan's poem about a saguaro is awful and does NOT deserve to appear in print. I am glad saguaros aren't oaks. If you want oak trees go somewhere other than the Sonoran desert.

What in the hell does someone who says a saguaro doesn't give shade really know about saguaros? Saguaros definitely do give shade. All you have to do is spend a little time in the desert during hot sunny days to know saguaros provide lots of shade. I've sat in saguaro shade many times to avoid the cooking desert sun. This Minnesotan's poem about a saguaro is awful and does NOT deserve to appear in print. I am glad saguaros aren't oaks. If you want oak trees go somewhere other than the Sonoran desert.

To me this sounds like the writer gets the saguaro. It is a statuesque symbol of survival and strength and I think the writer sees that. Everyone sees things with their own heart.

OH GREAT SAGUARO STANDING SO TALL---YOU GIVE SUCH AMAZEMENT TO BIG AND SMALL---YOU`R ARM`S OUT STRECHED TO THE HEVEN`S ABOVE---WHERE YOU COURT THE CACTUS WREN---WITHIN YOU`R LIVING SKIN---THE REBURTH OF YOU`R FEATHERED FRIEND`S YOU RECALL--WHO TAKE THE FALLEN FRUIT---AND EAT THE SEED`S SO---SO---SO VERY SMALL---TO CARRY HERE AND THERE---THE REBURTH OF THE MAJESTIC SAGUARO`S--- BUT HERE ONLY SO PRIVILEGED TO CALL THE SONORAN---HOME FOR BIG AND SMALL

This is a love poem, and it is beautiful. I give it an A+. If you don't get it, you have missed a special tribute. The Sahuaros make me want to cry. They are too awesome to describe, and the first Sahuaro I see, driving into Tucson, is always a thrill, like my first kiss. What a terrible place, if the United States had no sahuaros. Thank you Arizona.

I'm surprised you call this composition a poem, just because it spaces words in somewhat separate lines. There is neither regularity, rhythm, repetition of form, nor any other feature of what can be called poetry. Yes, it comes from the writer's heart, but poetry requires taking one's deep feelings and shaping them into some kind of form. Emotion alone doesn't do it.

OK---GIVE YOUR BEST SHOT--TWO OUT OF THREE---NOT BAD

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For me, the saguaro is a symbol of my home, my heart. That's where i lived most of my life. Arizona ♡ The poem was an insult to my home. Saguaro are raising their arms in praise and worship of Almighty God, a reminder for us to do likewise.

That was probably the worst poem, in general, and succinctly the worst poem ever about one of our unique flora. The Sentry of the desert is everything this poem isn't; haven to fauna, shade fir the weary traveler, iconic in design, and ancient in its presence. It holds the lofty status held by few species in existence today; the Redwood, The Juniper, and the Pinyon. It's presence emotes the memory of warm, active simmer evening and the lush Sonoran Desert. I'm shocked AH actually printed this. I need to begin writing poems to Minnesota Highways, I'm sure I can describe their alleged beauty as aptly as she tragically attempted ours.

I will mail a complimentary copy of a book of poems and stories to the first 3 readers who respond to [email protected] with a comment about the book. Portions of it can be viewed on www.lulu.com/shop/g-r.../saguaro-shade/.../product-22035670.html‎. As for the majestic saguaro not providing shade: tell that to the many denizens of the sonoran desert who take refuge and raise their young in its nooks and crannies.

Saguaros On a two lane highway … Winding through the night. Past countless tall Saguaros … Bathing in the full moonlight. Through the midst of giants. All around me everywhere. Saguaros … arms held high. In silent wonder there. Born on top a tall saguaro… And only in the dark of night. Starlight gently washes them. Bold flowers Lily-white. Saguaros like an army frozen… Waiting for the trumpets call. Countless legions in green … Praying for the rain to fall. David D Jerald

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