Selected Photos, Art, and Poetry: Grand Designs

by Shannon J. Nielsen

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    You’ve already met the contest winners on pages 12 and 13. Here is why they won. In the grand design of the Creator, there is room for color and shape, melody and rhythm, prose and poetry. We think you’ll find examples of these on the following pages.

    When I’m Reading

    Sometimes I see them
    marching through desert,
    their brown legs dusted
    with soft spots of sand
    and still summer silence,
    marching to the beat of an
    anxious heart, saving the sacred
    oath of a father.
    I watch them.
    Sun-rinsed hair whips gently
    through a midday breeze,
    shielding innocent eyes,
    searching eyes that see
    ahead to the God who will
    deliver them.
    Sometimes I hear their
    salty fingers wrap still
    around a heavy bow.
    Silent footsteps brush warm
    against the earth.
    I listen
    to the quiet clap of
    praying hands pressed
    tightly toward heaven
    and sandy lips sending
    songs of praise
    to their Savior,
    firm in the faith
    taught them by a mother.
    I know them.
    Two thousand chosen brothers
    called to save His children
    by the voice of a prophet.

    [photos] Photos by Holly Ann Alldredge

    Sunrise

    The sun rose this morning
    as I first blinked the
    silent light from my eyes,
    and I thought of You, and how
    this had to be like the day
    You called to Mary,
    “Why weepest thou?”
    How these had to be the rays
    of light that filled
    her broken heart, a rush
    of warmth rising in her soul
    as she rose to meet Your eyes
    of perfect love. “Tell me
    where thou hast laid him.”
    And You spoke her name
    beneath the eastern sky,
    “Mary.”
    And she knew You,
    her Master, her Light.
    And now I lay beneath
    that sky, sustained by
    the same light, and I want
    to call to You, my Master,
    for this had to be the
    sun that shone the day
    she knew You had risen.

    Breeze of Galilee

    This land is scarred with His memory,
    Touched by His life,
    telling of blue night with stars
    near to barren hillside where
    sheep gather and
    foreign tongues tell softly
    His coming.
    Hearts learn rhythm of Galilee’s shore,
    Waves coming, rolling, then turning back like
    Rustling crowds moving through ancient markets,
    Almost tasting smells of wood near
    Carpenter’s shop—shavings fall in piles,
    Rough bark and white wood
    gnarling, twisting agony in a garden
    scarred by Him—born in a stable.
    This land heard, and remembers, and
    Aches for Him.
    The wind tells His story.

    [illustrations] Art by Hinarera Hunt

    Shoes

    Star light
    feed the starving
    Star bright
    comfort the lonely
    and lead the lost
    First star I see tonight
    save the earth and
    her animals
    I wish I may
    clothe the children
    I wish I might
    ban the poverty
    and outlaw war
    I wish tonight to sweep
    the world with
    understanding and bind her seams
    with brotherhood.

    [illustrations] Art by Lauriann Henriksen

    The Dawning of a Testimony

    It wasn’t like a flash of light,
    bright and blinding to her eyes
    like lightning in a storm.
    It came as a warm
    tender glow,
    slowly growing
    like a sunrise
    after the darkest night.

    Sky Fire

    Electric ice ignites in midnight blue,
    revealing the picture behind a mountain’s
    silhouette.
    Emerald grass imbibes blazing
    nitrogen.
    Crackles and thunder chime against
    humiliated moonlight.
    When I grow up, let me sing like
    lightning.

    [photos] Photos by Greg Terry

    Chink Holes

    You build your wall,
    and I’ll build mine.
    We’ll sit confidently, silently
    staring through the chink holes.
    I’ll never dream that you
    wonder, as I do,
    how such clear, bright eyes
    could erect such a fortress.

    Little Brother

    Our letters cross in the mail.
    I tell a joke,
    you smile 15 days later.
    I write “Happy Birthday”
    a month in advance.
    I see the full moon
    after you’ve awakened
    the next day.
    We both see waves
    from different oceans.
    Half a world apart,
    I remember you
    at the breakfast table
    one Saturday morning
    after you told
    me straight-faced
    how beautiful I looked
    with my tousled hair
    straggling into my puffy eyes.
    I think I punched you in
    the arm and you pretended
    to fall to the floor dead.
    You got me later,
    tickle-torturing me
    until I could hardly breathe.
    I wish I could tickle you back
    and hear you laugh now
    instead of in a few weeks.

    Nephite Christmas

    Remember
    eon upon eon of hard darkness,
    death—the fears
    of men misguided, flailing,
    broken
    in the nothing of the night.
    And think:
    How fitting that His coming should be heralded
    with day and night and day
    of brightest Light!

    Pilgrimage

    When I am magic,
    I will make the pilgrimage
    of ants, and climb through
    brown bark valleys; through
    sap pine rivers; around
    beetle leaf jungles.
    When I am magic,
    I will climb to the treetop
    leaf and watch new sky
    dripping blue into the shade.
    When I am magic,
    I will take you with me to
    the hole where the stars
    sharp edge has ripped the
    canopy and spilled night
    into melting snow.
    I will take you with me,
    and we will tickle blue-wet
    crows climbing west.

    [illustrations] Art by JennyLynn Palmer

    Spring of Teal

    My arms flung wide to
    receive the rain
    stretching through yellow-
    leaved trees.
    I trip on untied shoelaces,
    fall to wet-faced dirt,
    nose pressed to earthworms.
    All I know, all I remember,
    is that this place has always
    been here—
    Here where tomato vines
    first sprout, where
    yellow snapdragons spit
    thick pollen fire at heavy
    summer sky, where
    mountains slice through
    dust storms.
    Here when wind first hits earth,
    Here when leaves brush
    against my chapped face
    raised to receive.

    Reminiscing

    Antique friends
    lap a scrapbook
    of coinciding memories.
    “Recall when?
    Married? Three children!
    Uphill both ways.”
    Rehearsed years
    created now
    and later developments.
    Say cheese!

    [photos] Photos by Alan Murray