Poetry from Our Past

By Reba Beebe Pratt

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    Poetry from Our Past

    Rejoice, My Soul, Rejoice

    (An excerpt, from The Sheaf of a Gleaner, Salt Lake City: Jos. Hyrum Parry and Co., 1886.)
    Rejoice, my soul, rejoice,
    Though thou wast once cast down,
    Hear ye a still small voice,
    The cross shall win the crown;
    May thou find in these words sweet rest,
    He chasteneth whom He loveth best.
    Rejoice, my soul, rejoice,
    Though bitter be the cup,
    Lift not a murmuring voice
    His hand doth hold it up;
    Put not aside, though deep it burn,
    The dregs shall yet to sweetness turn.
    Rejoice, my soul, rejoice,
    For thou shalt soon be free
    From all that now annoys,
    That pain racked fetters thee;
    Oh! broken body, weary soul,
    Thou shalt hereafter be made whole.
    Rejoice, my soul, rejoice,
    The promises are sure,
    That Christ has made to those
    Who shall all things endure;
    Into His hands thy all then give,
    For thus to die is but to live.

    I Want to Be Close to You

    (From Branches That Run over the Wall, Salt Lake City: The Magazine Printing Co., 1904.)
    “I want to be close to you, muzzer!”
    Whispered my two-year-old;
    As we knelt ’round the family altar,
    In the twilight pale and cold.
    I heard him with moistened lashes,
    For I felt that moment, too,
    As my heart reached up to our Father,
    “I want to be close to you!”
    In mine his small hand nestled,
    ‘Gainst mine his soft cheek press’d,
    His bright head on my shoulder,
    Found sweet, confiding rest;
    And I felt the Father draw me
    Closer, and closer yet;
    Resting my tired being,
    As I did my baby pet.
    If I, in my mortal weakness,
    Could not turn my child away,
    But would rest him upon my bosom,
    E’en while we knelt to pray:
    How shall my soul be faithless?
    How can I ever fear
    That when I call to my Father,
    He will be slow to hear?

    To Mrs. V. Kimball

    (From Poems, Salt Lake City: LDS Press, 1877.)
    Thou much belov’d in Zion,
    Remember, life is made
    A double-sided picture,
    Contrasting light and shade.
    Our Father means to prove us:
    And when we’re fully tried,
    He will reverse the drawing,
    And show the better side.
    Then, then we’ll be astonish’d,
    That ignorance could throw
    Such dismal shades of darkness
    Where light and beauty glow.
    The mists that hide the future
    Are round our visions thrown:
    But when, as seen, we’re seeing,
    And know as we are known,
    Whatever seems forbidding,
    And tending to annoy,
    Will, like dull shadows, vanish,
    Or turn to crowns of joy.


    (An excerpt, from Poems, Salt Lake City: Deseret News Press, 1950. Written for the funeral of Brigham Young, Sept. 2, 1877.)
    Death gathers up thick clouds of gloom,
    And wounds the soul with anguish deep;
    Gaunt sorrow sits upon the tomb,
    And round the grave dense shadows creep.
    But Faith beams down from God’s fair skies
    And bids the clouds and shades be gone.
    We gaze with brightened, tear-dried eyes,
    And lo! there stands the Holy One!


    (An excerpt, from The Poetical Writings of Orson F. Whitney, Salt Lake City: Juvenile Instructor Office, 1889.)
    Wilt thou never break, O morning?
    Shall we ne’er thy dawn behold,
    Zion, in thy glory rising,
    Might and majesty untold?
    Vainly have we watched, awaiting,
    Lord, thy promised time of power,
    That should rend our chains asunder,
    And o’erthrow oppression’s tower?
    Nay. Though lowering night may linger,
    Glorious morning comes at last;
    Day of Zion’s glad redemption—
    All her woes forever past.
    Mountain peaks of pride are leveled,
    Lifted up the lowly plain,
    Crookedness made straight, while crudeness
    Now gives way to culture’s reign.
    Now no tyrant’s sceptre saddens,
    Now no bigot’s power can bind
    Faith, forevermore unfettered,
    Thought no dungeon e’er confined.
    Truth, oft crushed, yet never conquered,
    Soars aloft on wings of light;
    Men behold their Maker’s meaning
    Eye to eye with single sight.
    All that ages past have promised,
    All that noblest minds have prized,
    All that holy lips have prayed for,
    Here at last is realized.