1980 Poetry Contest Winners

Kathryn R. Ashworth

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    At My Daughter’s Baptism

    First Place All-Church Poetry Contest

    And Eve … was glad, saying: Were it not for our transgression, we never should have had seed, and never should have known … the joy of our redemption (Moses 5:11).

    Child, see the fawn high-bounding,
    vaulting the road, tracing the leaping doe
    to the spring spurting around the pipe wounding
    the soft earth. You know
    the water, the toes gripping the wet stones,
    the cupped hand running over, the slow
    drinking, the glad moans.
    Now hear the dawn’s great trumpet blasting
    gold fanfare over the ridge: green
    aspens shiver in the rushing sound, a casting
    of bright echoes between
    the summit and the far mountains. The peacock may
    proceed to spread his burning eyes, to preen,
    to strut across the day.
    Tonight, beyond the dusty hours, when the coals
    lie like hot-bellied clouds within
    the glowing pit and the night like airy stoles
    upon our shoulders, the thin
    veils that keep us from the stars will fly
    loose in the night wind, and we will spin
    glass cartwheels in the sky.

    [photo] Photography by Jed A. Clark

    Pale Woman, Lean Woman

    Third Place Eliza R. Snow Poetry Contest
    In the husk of bodies
    Hunched in the heat
    A pale woman, lean woman
    Falls by his feet.
    The Nazarene passes
    Day-weary, drawn,
    Flanked by a multitude,
    Sandaled and robed;
    Her hand reaches out,
    Blood-pumping thin,
    Pale woman, lean woman
    Touches his hem,
    Brushes his garment
    Skimming the stones,
    And his spirit quickens
    Her leadlike bones.
    Pale woman, lean woman,
    Her faith is her plea
    As he asks by the roadside
    “Who touched me?”


    Second Place Eliza R. Snow Poetry Contest
    “California? But there’s gold here!
    With baffled eyes you searched the sand and sage,
    You planted the seeds I brought from home.
    There was little hope that they would grow,
    But you put them in the ground.
    Six feet-three inches, dressed in field dust
    Stooping over a tiny flower bed
    And watering it with your faith.
    Ten days brought them green against the cabin gray.
    Then came the morning
    I turned from dumping dish water to see them.
    Open—bright and flooding golden summer on our step.
    You were gone that morning, Andrew,
    When Nathan first did the milking
    All by himself.
    Our ten-year-old, fair-haired boy
    Came up from the barn
    Pulling at the bucket almost bigger than himself
    A smile spread clear across his freckles
    With the early sun glistening through his hair.
    There was that September Brother Schultz got typhus
    And we took Nate and John and everybody came—
    Brown farmers and bare-foot children
    Taking fruit from trees that bore them.
    I sat tired and sticky by the wagon.
    Baskets, boxes smelling sweet
    Piled with peaches
    Yellow-orange and glowing—fairly glowing.
    Arthur said that it was yellow money.
    Sister Anna said that friends were “Good as …”
    Andrew, you should see the sun now.
    It’s a huge circle of molten lava
    Slipping—heavy—into Johnston’s Valley.
    The fire has splashed into the sky
    And all the clouds are blazing—white, amber, crimson.
    Rays have reached across the valley
    Painting the mountains rich yellow-gold,
    Changing the rock to glowing magnificence.
    Well, here’s a drop of that luster.
    They’re butter-cups—early ones.
    My fingers aren’t so stiff
    That I couldn’t pick them for you.
    Lovely, aren’t they? Simple, pure and hardy
    Like the land they grew from.
    I hope that they will grow here
    When I join you.
    It’s only right
    Their gold will be the monument to show
    We found our treasure here.