Selected Photos, Art, and Poetry: See What They’ve Done

by Kara Dixon

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There is often profound truth and great beauty in the small and simple things of the world. However, discovering and portraying them is often anything but small and simple. Is it worth the effort? Absolutely. See for yourself.

Missouri River Crossing

The fathers fell, weeping,
and mothers turned stone-cold faces
to the wind,
too weary to cry.
As I watched those broken people
I heard my mother say,
Go and bring them in.
Would she turn away if I returned
with empty arms?
Gently, then, I gathered up a child
and waded into waters
so cold and sharp
that my muscles clenched
and tears froze on my face
each time I crossed
the aching, icy river.
Hour after hour,
numbly plodding on, I saw my mother
in each stranger’s face.
And when they were all across
they wrapped me in my mother’s quilt
and sang the quiet songs
of heaven, and so cold and numb—
I slept.
And dreamed that I awoke
in Mother’s arms
and angels seemed to shout Hosanna!
And Father wept to have me
home again.

End of a Season

The air is scented with exhaustion
from a summer completely spent.
Maples arch rounded backs against
the sky
and begin to shed their golden
to blanket the fainting grass.
This corner of the park falls silent,
except for the breathy wind
laboring through the chapped leaves,
whispering of a quiet June kiss
under full, moist boughs—
a kiss that, like the leaves, dried in
summer sun
and blew off in the first gust
of September chill.

[photo] Photo by Kara Louise Haynes

Lamentation of Moroni

They disappear like sparks
within the wind
and desperately I try to hold them
in my arms,
but they just burn away and die.
From up here on my lonely ledge
their deaths are quiet, quick,
so sadly familiar.
I cannot be among them,
holding their hands, hearing them
call out Abba! Abba!
as they fall, desperate and slow,
into death.
No, I am left here
writing words that cannot
save my people now.
I am left to watch and wait,
alone and cold
as the fires die,
one by one.
I am left holding out
my hands in supplication,
bowing my head to the God
that only they rejected,
and I cry tears that mix with dead ash
and stain my face gray.

[illustrations] Art by Sarah A. Treu

[photo] Photo by Kara Louise Haynes

Lessons from Wisconsin

We’re sitting on the beach
flailing at mosquitoes
and watching the sunset.
The smell of campfire lingers on
the breeze,
leaving liquid footprints as it tiptoes
across the lake.
Grandpa sits in his faded lawn chair,
blue argyle socks falling down around
white ankles.
His hands rest in his lap, wrinkled and
baby soft;
he hasn’t fished in 18 years.
A water bug skirts across the lake.
“Ewww, gross,” I squeak.
Grandpa looks at me and puts his finger
to his lips.
He points to the water,
“Look, he’s dancing …”
I stare at the tiny body, leaping and
bounding in the evening wake.
“We’re like that,” Grandpa says, staring
into the water,
“except too many people see the bug,
and not the dancer.”

Visiting Nauvoo

Nothing seemed real
until I saw the sturdy brick and
the creeping river
and felt the humid warmth on
my skin.
I turned at a stirring,
but tall grasses merely bowed to
each other,
and fresh fences peaked their way
across the swaying fields.
Then out of a sunny glint on
the water,
a town moved toward me.
The air thickened with voices
shouting, laughing,
whispers from youth, wisdom from
all bustled by me, hurrying, hurrying.
A muddy hound ran and sat at my feet,
thumped his tail once, twice,
then bounded along.
A horse whinnied at my ear, and
shading my eyes,
I looked up into the face of Hyrum.
He smiled and waved and turned his
impatient mount away.
A woman approached,
children circled about her like a
patchwork skirt,
and before I could speak,
Emma smiled, nodded, and
hurried on.
I moved toward the river, away from
the crowded street,
into tranquil shade of wizened
I saw a man sitting,
gazing across the land,
barely breathing.
And Joseph stood, dear Joseph,
and smiled and gripped my hand.
And I wept as their lives flooded
through me.

[illustrations] Art by Julie Harker

[photos] Photos by Bridget A. J. Keogh


Music never runs out of itself.
Existing, I believe,
before the creation of Adam,
new melodies,
continue to be created.
By now
(thousands and thousands of years later)
you would think
we’d have run out of options—
of melodies,
of music—
but it never ceases to stir new emotions
and uplift the soul
to new heights
through new invention.

Saints of God

Ye Saints of God, with joyful praise
Give heart and strength to Him
Who lends us hope to overcome
And sends us power to win.
For with His power we’ll heal the land
And raise a glorious sound
And send the gospel through the earth
To nations all around.
Then Zion, O that blessed land,
Through Christ, shall conquer all.
The faith of just one righteous man
Makes Satan’s kingdoms fall.
If to the voice of that one man
We add our own in power,
We’ll banish evil from the land
And speed the millennial hour.
And from that hour all around
Shall goodness never cease.
His gentle love shall here abound
And bring us heaven’s peace.
Then man shall no more hate nor fear
Nor heed the tempter’s call,
For only one voice shall we hear,
Our Lord, Our God, Our All.

Words of Wisdom

I marvel
that throughout the centuries
of great poets,
sages, authors, philosophers,
the wisest words
ever spoken by man
came from the lips
of a humble

[illustration] Art by Lauren Dickerson

[photos] Photos by Emily Lim