1992 Eliza R. Snow Poetry/Verse Contest Winners

By Jean Seifert

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    Master of the Light

    I praise thee when
    Each pastel stroke of sunrise
    Seems for me,
    And every lustrous breeze
    Ignites my soul
    With glowing testament of thee.
    But when my shoulders—
    Burdened, bent to dust—
    Refuse to lift,
    Forget to trust,
    I glory, Master
    Artist of the Light,
    That I can also find thee
    In the night.

    Portrait of Mosiah 18

    Another morning moved upon the
    waters, lifting a veil of silver
    flame while many awakened and
    heard Alma’s words, gathered to that
    place of quiet-spreading trees;
    They believed when he taught—perhaps in
    rooms kept to candlelight;
    now on this shore turned
    afternoon, he voices their
    desire, witnessed through breathless
    burial breaking over to sky,
    sun, a Redeemer’s grace.
    And they come filled, called after
    His name—this being
    done before evening passed the
    wilderness beyond small stars.

    On the Blessing of the Bread

    Called to redemption,
    Israel wandered empty wastes,
    Yet ate hoar manna:
    Heaven’s harvest in a fruitless land.
    At Christ’s feet,
    Five thousand sat with empty hands,
    Yet from five loaves
    Were fed and filled.
    He who made not devil’s stones bread,
    Yet fed his hungry people.
    And still he does.
    For we, too, walk in wastelands,
    And we wait before his table
    With empty hands
    To eat the bread of life:
    God’s gift in famine’s day,
    And supper to our souls.

    To Eve—with Empathy across the Years

    You laid the garment aside
    And stood to rest stiff shoulders—
    How pleased Abel would be
    At touch of the soft, supple leather.
    From the door you could see the fields,
    Quiet in midday sun.
    The harvest had been good
    And the flocks were fat.
    Bent to your task again
    You were not aware of the darkening sky
    Or the dust-covered runner approaching
    Until Adam, with ashen face, stood beside you.
    Sharp as the sickle through ripe grain
    Were his words …
    You would not remember
    Running through dry stubble,
    Or his strong arms beneath yours;
    But you would not forget pain
    That tore heart and soul.
    Gone—two sons of promise—
    One never to see tomorrow’s dawn,
    Never to father generations.
    The other wrenched from you,
    Marked and cast out.
    There would be other dawns—and other harvests—
    With long hours of toil to fill empty days.
    Then slowly, surely, as pain gives way to faith,
    You feel God’s love surround you,
    Warm as a shawl on your shoulders,
    And you hear His spirit whisper to your spirit
    That sometime—somewhere in eternity—
    A mother’s heart will heal.


    The Guilty
    Where is the mountain high enough
    The ocean deep enough
    The desert wide enough
    To hide my sin?
    Death will not suffice—
    I cannot be
    Burning torment
    Anguish of soul
    My God, my God
    I hide my face.
    The Penitent
    Have mercy
    On me, a sinner
    Forgive, I pray
    Take my sin away
    I cannot bear it longer.
    I would be thine.
    Receive my broken heart, I beseech thee,
    And give me rest.
    The Forgiven
    Burning with Light
    My soul quivers
    At thy touch.
    Oh God, my God
    God of my fathers
    Wonderful, Counsellor,
    Prince of Peace.
    There is no mountain high enough
    Nor ocean deep enough
    Nor desert wide enough
    To glorify thy name.

    [illustration] Summer Afternoon, by John Hafen; courtesy of the Museum of Church History and Art