In the Shadow of the Sun

    “In the Shadow of the Sun,” Ensign, July 1989, 46

    In the Shadow of the Sun

    First Place

    When I knew him, my grandfather prayed

    with his body, feeding cattle or training a horse,

    holding to the promise that all this

    is momentary, a shred of the work and glory

    ahead: “Live difficult,” he said, then laughed.

    “It won’t last long.”

    His faith glittered

    like salmon in a silted stream. He waited for decades

    in fields where labor was patience, one way

    of fighting the wars of want that warped the temporal

    sensorium where he was held like a falcon

    in a gunnysack—currents of sky, his blood told him,

    were out there. “As man is,” he told me, “God

    once was. As God is, man may become.”

    He stood

    his distance from the world, as tired and virile at times

    as Moses, watching young children learn by touch

    the sharp edges. They wanted games with easier rules,

    planning fun till the fun ran out, then starting over,

    older, with less room. Each time with less room,

    a game they denied choosing getting tighter.

    They laughed at him, my grandfather and his

    peculiar gait, his old way of being in no hurry,

    certain of infinity, living as he did

    amid life vaster than Earth, visions sheering

    through the brevity of flesh with unerring trajectories

    that spoke to him of Light the sun blocked

    with its puny burning.