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Quotation by Harrison R. Merrill on love of nature

Topics: Nature, Creation, Death, Heaven

 

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Adams, Samuel
Amiel, Henri Frédéric
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Hillenbrand, Laura
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Merrill, Harrison R.
Montaigne, Michel de
Oaks, Dallin H.
Orwell, George
Picard, Capt. Jean-Luc
Reagan, Ronald
Shedd, William
Washington, George
West, Allen
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Williams, Daryl
Wordsworth, William

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Quotation by Harrison R. Merrill on heaven and love of nature. Photo of Zion Park by Rand Green.

“When I say my last adieu
And all farewells are given,
Just leave my spirit here somewhere.
Oh, God, let this be heaven."

~ Harrison R. Merrill
from Dusk on the Desert, 1938


Click here to read author biography

Photo of Zion National Park by Rand Green.


Contextual Notes

Harrison R. Merril's legendary love of the out-of-doors, and particularly of the deserts and mountains of the American West, is a central theme in many of his works, but in none is that love more eloquently expressed than in the poem "Let This Be Heaven," from which the above quotation is excerpted.

Preferring "trails soft with soil" to a heaven with "golden streets," Merrill implores God:  

 
Just leave me here beside these peaks
In this rough western land.
I love this dear old world of Thine.
Dear God, You understand."

 

Rather than a stairway to heaven, he asks:

 

"Just leave that old peak there
And let me climb till come the night."

 

The poem contains rich imagery, as in this passage:

 

"I have been healed by crystal streams,
But these, from snow-crowned peaks
Where dawn burns incense to the day
and paints the sky in streaks"

 

"Let This Be Heaven" may well be considered Merrill's preeminent literary achievement, and the editors of Dusk on the Desert, a posthumusly-published collection of Merrill's poems and other writings, selected it to lead off the compilation. According to one source, Merrill actually had Mount Timpanogos in Utah's Wasatch Mountains in mind when he wrote this poem.

~ Rand Green


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