Life’s Grand Rehearsal

Originally published 11-18-19

Last Tuesday I almost didn’t go to the BYU Devotional. Nevertheless, I felt like I should, even though it was just a dance performance devotional. I’m really glad I went, though. Not only was it a really well done performance, but I also felt impressed with a couple of ways dancing relates to the Gospel and to Christ’s Atonement.

Later, I sent this out to the dance department, and they really enjoyed reading it!

Life’s Grand Rehearsal

Our joy is not just in the dancers’ grace
or eloquence they find in every turn,
but in the leaps and dips and pirouettes
is the awe of what we, too, could someday learn.

Our joy is not just in the blind man’s sight
or in the lepers, healed and whole and clean,
but in the Man who raised the blind man up
and all that He can help us someday be.

The hours of perfecting practice spent
in repetitions, slip-ups, trips and falls
make us better dancers for the trying.
Mistakes just become memories, after all.

The millions of trials we go through,
the times we mess up over and over again
refine our souls as nothing else quite can,
if we let Christ erase our every sin.

A dance is not just one person, alone
on stage and with a snare drum for a heart,
but teams and groups and partners who each try
to work together for this work of art.

We were never meant to live solo,
or try with just our strength to make it home,
but family, friends, the Spirit and the Son
will help us never have to dance alone.

The first sunset in the Garden of Eden

Originally published 11-09-19

I know this poem probably isn’t 100% doctrinally correct. The scriptures don’t have many details on the Garden of Eden,  so it’s hard to know much about it with certainty.

The first sunset in the Garden of Eden

The birds
still figuring out how to fly,
tried anyway to flap up
and catch the colors.

The lion and the lamb
stopped playing to see
what made the lamb’s coat
as golden as the lion’s.

The trees,
who feared the dark of night,
were soothed by the flower
of the fading sun.

The crickets,
still untrained violinists,
competed to praise the shades
of beautiful light.

The clouds
tumbling through new air,
paused and held still
to frame the moment.

Adam and Eve
sat side by side
and watched the world
that God had made for them.

The Great Minister

Originally published 11-03-19

I had stake conference this weekend, and one of the speakers, talking about ministering said a line I really liked. I expanded the idea and turned it into a poem.

The Great Minister

I’ve never raised the dead
        back to life,
never been able to say “I know
        exactly what you’re going through,”
or “I’ve suffered through that so you
        don’t have to,”
never made a mountain move
        or multiplied loaves and fish.
never made up for every loss,
        every broken dream.
never “wiped away tears
        from off all faces.”
never been a perfect example
        to lead the way back home,
never died to save my friends
        and enemies,
never changed the world.

But, like the Man who did those things,

I can take somebody’s hand
        and lift them higher.
I can weep with those
        who just need to cry right now.
I can help make tiny miracles happen,
        with my simple prayers and faith.
I can follow gentle promptings
        and bless those I am near.
I can wipe one tear
        off of one face.
I can be a friend, be close
        to those who suffer.
I can let my candle,
        however dim, show the way.
I can give some hours of my life
        to help someone in need
I can change a life.

Half-Autumn Trees

Originally published 10-26-19

Half-Autumn Trees

For a couple of autumn days 
between the first sparks of color 
and the mountains on fire 

the trees are in my favorite state— 
not entirely red, or brown and shedding, 
but with a few branches tenaciously green.  

It’s a lot like us, with these dashes of life seen among dry, crisp colors— 
divinity heavily spotted with imperfection. 
Though we pretend, sometimes, that we’re nothing but green, 

I like to ponder the half-yellow trees, 
and smile, and look through the leaves 
at the bright white sun. 

For a couple of autumn days 
between the first sparks of color 
and the mountains on fire 

the trees are in my favorite state— 
not entirely red, or brown and shedding, 
but with a few branches tenaciously green.  

It’s a lot like us, with these dashes of life seen among dry, crisp colors— 
divinity heavily spotted with imperfection. 
Though we pretend, sometimes, that we’re nothing but green, 

I like to ponder the half-yellow trees, 
and smile, and look through the leaves 
at the bright white sun. 

The Miracle of a Hand to Hold

Originally published 10-13-19

This last Thursday, I read this poem at the BYU Museum of Art Poetry Jam. A lot of different poets wrote works in response to different pieces of art on display, and we walked around and looked at the art while we heard the poets read their poems. It was a pretty neat experience. I wrote this poem in response to “Jesus and Peter on the Water” by Gustave Brion.

The Miracle of a Hand to Hold

As the only two men to ever walk on water
hold each other tightly,
the man holding desperately, the God holding lovingly,
the storm rages, and those without the faith to even try
watch over rough waves.

Faith in a bright night

Originally published 10-03-19

I wanted to publish a poem that related to General Conference, and I thought of this one, as told from someone who had heard Samuel the Lamanite. That was a very unpopular time to listen to the prophets. We have a thing or two to learn from that time.

Faith in a bright night

Every evening, I stay up
until the sun is gone
and the sky goes dark
again.

Every day, I see
fewer and fewer watching
with hope, and more crowds
mocking faith.

One sunset set apart
by the jeering mob to be the end
of those of us who still believe
in men of God.

One night, I witness
the blazing, sunless sky
when hope was burned into my chest
and faith confirmed.

One life, I’ll live
not always seeing through the night,
but knowing there will always rise
the Son.

Living the Gospel Brings Me Hope Because

Originally Published 09-15-19

This poem is my answer to Elder Soares’ request to “post your response to the question “Living the gospel brings me hope because…’ on social media” using the hashtag #YAface2face or #LDSdevo Seeing that this blog is the main social media I use, I decided to write a poem. These are some ways I feel like the restored gospel of Jesus Christ brings me hope.

Living the Gospel Brings Me Hope Because…

Living the gospel
brings me hope
in the simple smiles around me.
Another child of God cares for me
and will fight with me to win an eternity of smiles.

Living the gospel
brings me hope
as fresh breezes in my soul
that lift my head and point me
to beyond the next horizon.

Living the gospel
brings me hope
when I slowly stop making mistakes
that I know God is helping me overcome.
Worthiness is a priceless feeling.

Living the gospel
brings me hope
because when I live His gospel,
I know the Spirit lives in me,
and I burn with answered prayers.

Courage

Originally published 09-13-19

I wrote this poem on 9/11:

Courage

I try not
to pray
for the strength to keep
winning my daily battles.

Now, I pray for the
courage
to keep trying,
to keep fighting
alongside God.

With a Purpose

Originally published 09-02-19

A couple weeks ago, I met with a group of people and
brainstormed ideas for what we could do to help people with mental health problems,
and also about how social media contributes to these problems. One woman made
the comment: “people now don’t have a purpose, they don’t have a meaning to
their lives. I think that is one of the main things we have lost [with social
media].” I liked the idea, and put it into a poem.

With a Purpose

Walk with a purpose
through the drifting world,
which preaches so loudly of acceptance
that many accept themselves as merely who they are,
without any idea of who they could be.

Step with meaning
away from useless habits,
from passive consumption of flashing media
to active, personal creation
of beauty.

Stride with confidence
to a destination hoped for,
if not seen:
a loving Father,
an eternal family.

To Friends Who Know How to Hear Silence

Originally published 08-21-19

I have had several experiences this week that have taught me
the priceless value of friends who know how to really listen. When I wrote this
poem, it wasn’t based on any specific personal experience, but I think we all have times
in our lives where we need friends who know how to hear silence.

To Friends Who Know How to Hear Silence

When the loudest noise is the stubborn air conditioner,
            and tears rolling on cheeks,

When words are gone, are incomplete,
            though repeated however heartfelt,

When it seems that each man—and I—am an island,
            an ocean away from true connection,
            an ocean away from humanity,

When all I have inside that must be said has
            no words, no true names,

When my thin voice cannot capture my bursting soul,

How thankful I am for friends
            who know how to hear silence.