Selected Photos, Art, and Poetry: All Things Bright and Beautiful

By Christine Spencer

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Raw talent starts out unformed and dull. The beauty is still locked inside. But with training, time, and experience added to the mix, the raw ingredients start to take shape. The first uneven lines on a sketch pad or the beginning few words of a poem start the process. Each new step brings out another facet. Every new effort polishes away some of the rough spots. And out of those beginnings come these bright and beautiful results. Enjoy looking at and reading some of the gems from the 1998 New Era contest.

[photos] The Light of Nature (Series) by Tom Webster

[illustration] Orchards Gifts by Kim Mickelson

[photo] Two Feet off the Ground by Rachel Gray


The November Ensign came today—
One for me.
But I couldn’t open it,
Knowing what was there.
How could I?
Inside were the words
I had felt.
Inside was that Spirit
Inside was Conference—
The best one so far—
The living moments at whose close
I had cried.
So there it sat
On the kitchen counter,
Unlocked treasure
Filling its pages,
Its power
From the seams,
From beneath the cover.
I couldn’t open it—
That book in all its
So it sat there,

Book of Mormon Breakfast

“Can we offer you just one verse today,
A sweet and simple testimony, like
An apple on the way out the door?
Do you have time for a chapter,
Or will you be skipping the full course again?”
And so they call to me every morning,
And I try to ignore the prompting
As I dress and pack.
But they cry as I leave, like
A voice from the dust,
And say,
“We’ll be waiting here
Until you come back

President Clark’s Face When He Testified of a Mighty Thing

There was a look
I saw
And a realization
I tried to understand,
But didn’t fully.
It was an awareness
Growing out of his
Having changed him,
Changing me.


I think of
His hands,
nail prints marking
his sacrifice.
Will my hands,
when I meet my God,
be untouched
by human tears?
Lord, let me greet
my Savior with
hands scarred
by the works of love.

[photo] Alden Seated by Mollie Madsen

[photo] Dreams by Kim Mickelson

[illustration] The Sisters Do Their Part by Sarah Ludlow


Dad’s old canoe was too long to fit in the pond
so Lucy dragged out an old inner tube,
put our red snow disc over the hole
and gave the order to “set sail.”
I climbed in, sat down, Indian-style,
and explored the whole length of our backyard waterhole
(about 10 feet).
Then we took turns paddling around the edge,
looking for life amid the algae.
On Monday we sighted the New World.
On Tuesday we found the Promised Land.
And on Wednesday we followed
Dorothy to the Land of Oz.
By Thursday we were bored
and set out to find some new adventure.
Our ocean voyage lasted less than a week
but I can still remember
each place we visited,
and every imaginary friend we made.
I remember Lucy
standing in the wobbly bow of our ship,
pointing towards the land
that sparkled on our horizon,
her hair flapping like a red banner.

[illustration] Sister Airiohuoian by Sarah Ludlow

[photo] With Roses by Rachel Gray

[illustration] Out of the Spotlight by Bryan Beckman


My father’s eyes
so comforting
and full of promises
direct me down
the aqua tiles
of the baptismal font.
His gentle hands
raised to the square
anoint my spirit
and lift my soul.

For Me

did not cause the blood
that flowed from every pore.
on a cross of wood,
perhaps from an olive tree,
though he had the power
to heal himself
and smite them,
those who caused him pain.
With a breath
the power that created this earth
would do his will.
But he stayed there
on the wood
for me.

A Prayer

A prayer, two smiles,
a familiar door.
A plan, a truth,
help them understand.
A whisper, it’s right—
do they feel it?
A glimpse, a hope,
a young family in white.
A step
“Will you … ?”
A leap
“We will.”
A burst, an embrace,
smiles and tears.
A prayer, hearts dance
with the snowflakes outside.

Lilies of the Field

“And yet I say unto you that even
Solomon in all his glory was not
arrayed like one of these” (Matt. 6:29).
I pull on the cool, satiny air,
flexing my fingers into each sheath
and wrap around my waist
the rustling folds of a soft breeze.
I tie aroma like a scarf about my neck
and stroke its silken fringe,
pin up the loose strands of my hair
with silver darkness,
fasten a cloak of cricket song over my shoulders,
and thread dewy blades of grass around each ankle.
Then I descend a cloudy staircase,
turn the doorknob of the moon,
and step out into the night in this,
my favorite evening gown.

When I Was in Need of Comfort

Like four strong pillars,
calm, oiled hands weigh down upon
my sick head and bless.

[illustration] A Gathering of Gourds by Bryan Beckman

[photo] Sarah Swinging Alden by Mollie Madsen

Winter Trees

The ragged sentinels
Sigh softly
As a white blanket
Sifts gently down
Through their ancient arms,
Spreading itself
Upon the face
Of the frozen earth.
The caressing breath
Of a twilight breeze
Twines familiarly
Through the silent watchers,
Wrapping them
With its kiss
As if to comfort lonely companions
In a world of empty whispers.


Up out of the East
dark liquid is pouring
over the sky
cleaning the canvas
ready for tonight’s