The Village of Krasnodosch

Sent home from my mission, Oct 08, 2018

I thought of this poem this week while listening to a conference talk describing the Jewish seder. Jewish families not only set a place for Elijah, but fill his cup to the brim and send a child to the door to see if Elijah is there. (Hosanna and Hallelujah—The Living Jesus Christ: The Heart of Restoration and Easter, by Elder Gerrit W. Gong) I think this tradition is a great example of living with faith. 

My poem this week, tentatively titled “The village of Krasnodosch” (crass- no- doesh, roughly translated as “red rain”), is a story I heard in sacrament meeting once in Ivano-Frankivsk. I put the story to verse, because I think it fits really well. The speaker used it to point out the difference between mere hope and faith. It reminds me of a quote I heard once, that “faith is what we choose to act on every day”. I liked the story and I hope you’ll enjoy it, too!

The Village of Krasnodosch

There once was a small village
With the name of Krasnodosch.
The people there loved God, and they
All followed him with hope.

One spring, the people planted fields,
But then, no rain did fall.
One week turned to two, then three,
The fields weren’t looking well. 

The people all decided they would gather
Together on the next day
And pray that God would send them rain,
So the drought would go away.

The day was hot and cloudless
As the crowd started to form,
But one young girl walked up with an
Umbrella on her arm.

They asked her why, she said, “Well,
Aren’t we here to pray for rain?”
They shrugged, and all together,
They prayed, and then they prayed again.

They prayed for several hours,
But the rain still didn’t fall.
The crowd started to go back home,
But with hope, hearts were full.

“Look!” Said the umbrella girl,
“A cloud!” The crowd all turned
And saw far off a tiny thing,
The name “cloud” barely earned

They watched as it grew closer, and
They watched as it grew big.
They wondered if this answered prayers,
And each sure hoped it did.

The cloud stood right on top of them,
But not a drop fell down
“Schwoop!” the girl’s umbrella went,
But some began to frown

Then, after a while, a drop,
Then one more, two, and then,
Someone opened heaven’s floodgates-
It began to pour down rain.

The town ran home, glad but wet-
Their hope was not in vain.
The umbrella girl, she walked home dry,
For she had prayed in faith.

Christ never said

I was reading Mosiah 24 for Come Follow Me this week (I’m a little behind) and I was struck by verse 14, where Christ seems to show that helping us in our afflictions is more important for us to build faith than delivering us from our afflictions. I decided to expand on that idea with other instances from scripture.

Christ never said

Christ never said that storms wouldn’t come,
He said He’d be a refuge when they raged. (Isaiah 25:4)

Christ never said we would not have trials,
He said He’d visit us in our afflictions. (Mosiah 24:14)

Christ never said He would keep us from wandering away,
He said He’d come and find us when we do. (Luke 15:4-7)

Christ never said we would not have grief or sorrow,
He said that with His stripes we could be healed. (Isaiah 53:4)

Christ never said we would be perfect in this life,
He said He would succor us in our infirmities (Alma 7:11-13)

Christ never promised we would never cry,
He said He would wipe away all tears from our eyes. (Revelations 21:4)

Christ never said we would not be heavy laden,
He said He’d give us rest, and make our burdens light. (Matthew 11:28-30)

Christ never said that life would not be hard,
He said He would be with us always, even to the end (Matthew 28:20)

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.

Sometimes He Calms the Storm

Originally published 03-10-19

In high school, someone I knew made a clay model of an empty, mostly sunk boat. The title of this art piece, and the inspiration for this poem, is “Sometimes He calms the storm, sometimes He calms the sailor.” I thought this especially fit the Come Follow Me for this week, where Christ calmed the tempest.

Sometimes He Calms the Storm

One bright spring day, a fisherman
left home to ply his trade.
With a prayer to God to return him safe,
he sailed into the waves.

He cast his net, and gathered in fish
to feed his family poor.
Then, with a prayer of thanks to God,
he started home once more.

Then, suddenly, swift winds arose
and a storm was all around him.
He fought to steer and stay aboard
as waves began to pound him.

The sea attacked and stole away
his fish, his nets, his oars,
and the lonely seaman, struggling, desperate,
fought the storm for hours.

And as he strove to stay alive
his hour of death seemed near,
and, in hope and desperation,
he lifted up a prayer:

“I ask this not for me, alone,
but for my family, too.
Please help me live through this fierce storm
to give them house and food.”

And as his boat was bashed by waves
the sailor saw a single ray of light
pierce the clouds and strike his boat,
and he felt all would be right.

The sailor then felt peace so deep
it seemed to calm the storm.
He felt that God was next to him,
and his soul felt still and warmth.

Though pounding waves still crashed and raged,
though the water felt like ice,
though the sailor’s fate was still in doubt,
He felt serene inside.

I don’t know this story ends,
perhaps he lived, perhaps he died.
I don’t know if God wanted him
to die, or to survive.

But I know this: in seas of live
were each faced with storms of trial and danger
and though sometimes God will calm the storm,
sometimes He just calms the sailor.