Eliza R. Snow Poetry Contest Winners

By Charlotte Teresa Reynolds

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    Indian Grandmother

    First Place Eliza R. Snow Poetry Contest
    Old One,
    Forgive me for the long
    Dark braids that do not
    Fall down my back
    And do not brush the arm
    Of a fine strong husband,
    As yours did.
    Forgive me
    For the pale words
    And gray thoughts
    That kept your
    Good red blood
    Out of my heart
    For lo these long years,
    These years of growing
    Out of myself
    And into God,
    Out of despair
    And into humility.
    Old One,
    When you find Him,
    Tell Him of my love,
    Tell Him I am finally
    Receiving with upturned
    Hands the gifts He has been
    Drenching me with
    Tell Him how I love seeing
    Your name every time I write
    My own.
    Tell Him I get up
    Every morning
    With my heritage from Him
    And my legacy from you.
    Old One,
    Think well of this,
    Your daughter in flesh.
    Speak kindly of me
    When the moon begins
    To bleed and He dons His
    Wine-red robe.
    Call me now, Old One;
    Call my name
    And whisper yours,
    So that, hearing
    Your voice, I may better
    Be attuned for His.

    [photo] Photograph from Edward S. Curtis’s North American Indian Collection, Brigham Young University

    Sonnet to Mission-bound Sons and Daughters

    Third Place Eliza R. Snow Poetry Contest
    From guarded reservoirs of life, we spill
    You forth, young streams, to gather droplets, grow,
    And spread abroad on thirsty acres, fill
    A wilderness with emerald foliage, flow
    In freshets prisming the morning sun.
    Then may you nurture beauty all along
    And bless the favored channels where you run,
    While rippling laggard pebbles into song.
    Soon, distance will divide you from this source,
    Your harbored innocence. We set you free,
    Unfettered in your press to seek the course
    Which must reflect your choice, unerringly.
    We could not, would not, stay your fluid feet.
    We watch you go and count our portion sweet.

    [photo] Photography by Jeri Ann Barrus

    Lydia, Seller of Purple (Acts 16:14–15)

    Second Place Eliza R. Snow Poetry Contest
    “What is this Sabbath,” they ask who pursue Artemis,
    “That Lydia, seller of purple, consummate matron of the marketplace
    In Philippi, should lock us from her shop one day in seven?”
    They cannot know how I in the brightness of noonfire
    Came gratefully to the code of Moses. The Lord thy God
    Shall prosper thee, Lydia of Thyatira;
    Thou shalt keep the Sabbath holy unto Him.
    When moon gloss and silk of night unfold into Sabbath dawn,
    I with my household and other soft-tongued women of decision
    Gather us streamside to chant the ancient melody.
    A longing for truth pulls us to grass under our knees:
    “Thou has given us the Law, great God of Abraham;
    Teach us now its deeper meaning.”
    One latticed Sabbath morning, when the sky like a great joy
    Postured us before curtains of sunlight and the stream
    Wore a silence shimmering as love, bright with the light
    Of Heaven came to us Paul and Silas, bearing an eloquent testament.
    The miracles they told wrote truth’s considerable duty
    On my life: The Redeemer that Isaiah prophesied has come;
    Gravely He lived among us, filling His messianic mission—
    He healed the sick, gave light to sightless eyes
    And fed the listening multitudes at Galilee—till magistrates,
    Blinded by His unfamiliar light, shouted Him to the cross.
    Even the tomb could not contain him; He rose from death.
    “He lives,” sang Paul, “and He will always live.
    He is the Purpose in our purpose here.”
    Sun-jeweled hours dwindled to evening shades; moonlight wrapped
    Itself around us. Still we listened, learning. What beauty
    In this widening of truth—wisdom echoing wisdom, faith
    Kindling faith. Henceforth the Law would flourish in a new
    Dimension. Henceforth the Law would sing with the voice of harps;
    For He taught a loftier concept—we are all God’s children:
    Thou shalt love diligently the Lord thy God;
    Then thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.
    “Make me,” I said to Paul, “an instrument of His perfect Love;
    Let me be advocate for Him in Philippi.
    Then when they ask, they who follow Artemis,
    ‘What is this Sabbath that Lydia, seller of purple,
    Should lock us from her shop one day in seven?’
    I shall exulting answer, ‘He who made the world and spoke the Law
    Has given me voice. Join me; fervent in the Sabbath dawn
    I celebrate His love, His light, His Church in Philippi.
    He lives to endow our lives with hope and meaning.’”

    [photo] Photography by Eldon Linschoten