INTRODUCTION TO WEB SITE

            (TABLE OF CONTENTS)

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        MORMON EPIC POEM

   ICONIC VERSION 

        Ronald Wilcox

 

            FOREWORD TO THE EPIC 

 

 

BOOK ONE

 

     QUANTUM GOSPEL 

 

 

Take a patch of chaos circling beforehand,

 

 

Sling it past black stars circling at random,

 

 

Create light in rings inside particled sparks,

 

 

Glowing in random points and recognitions,

 

 

Moving & brewing beneath your own hand;

 

 

Respond to Word of God inside your mind.

 

 

Call the involvement creation, as the eyes

 

 

Of the Gods gaze infinity into finite forms,

 

 

Symmetry into exact reflections of love.

 

 

Had I reckoned further I would have wakened

 

 

A dream of being being born inside my mind;

 

 

Had I known my urging soul, inviting my eyes,

 

 

To behold myself admitting a verge of sky,

 

 

Had I been born a babe unto regenerations,

 

 

Electric with crackling insights & intuitions,

 

 

I would have born witness to the Holy Soul,

 

 

Whipping like lightning the spark embedded,

 

 

The rumbling inside, my own seething Vortex.

 

 

Where did I begin, beside the counsels of God?

 

 

The Intelligences swarming like flaming bees

 

 

About the Instigations of the centered glory,

 

 

Unfettered, as multicolored gardens explode

 

 

In waves of flowers, streaming beaming leaves,

 

 

Vanguards of redeeming Impulse, to be living,

 

 

The very air alive with incessant buzz of Love,

 

 

The desire for good and sheer deep believing,

 

 

Redoubted in swarms, informed by beauty alone.

 

 

Heaven gleaned as home, taken as a given form

 

 

Of loving, Father and Mother, intent on feeding

 

 

The baby beam, redeemed from an infinite river

 

 

Of flashes, flowing by the garden of belonging,

 

 

The place of becoming, the seed of my being,

 

 

Where I began, uninformed and searching, to see,

 

 

My harvest of options returning upward to the sun,

 

 

Redeemed, to become one with a hovering spirit:

 

 

The beginning of all beginnings, my beginning.

 

 

The mysteries peak at evening, unquiet shadows,

 

 

Bounding a flaming horizon in red inscriptions,

 

 

Burnishing in blue the downward fall of time,

 

 

Inconstant quest for perfection in a golden ball,

 

 

What the sky said as it died alone, ungrieving,

 

 

Awaiting deeper meanings than departing stars

 

 

Or a storming moon silent in the shivering air,

 

 

Reflecting the patterns of man, briefer than ice,

 

 

Ages of discontent, scattering flecks of the sea.

 

 

My flesh is wrapped about schisms of intentions,

 

 

Inordinate struggles inside me, woven of dreams,

 

 

The bleeding strands, the hollow bones, risen up,

 

 

The dust a cough of speculation, burrowing deep,

 

 

Created by my God, aware of myself as a mirror

 

 

Of feeling and shape and apprehension of him

 

 

Who shattered the night sky into edges of light

 

 

And thrust my soul into these wavering sounds

 

 

And visible flutes of breathing, trilling glories.

 

 

Who am I to accede to ramparts of knowledge,

 

 

Climb the high vistas of separation like cliffs

 

 

Calling the clouds to order, parsing the brief

 

 

Echoes, stirring evanescence, chips of Phosphor,

 

 

White marble crags, crumbling under my view?

 

 

Am I all mind when I slide into ivory ravines

 

 

And seal with quickening beams a silver sky?

 

 

Who made of me a mannered imagining man

 

 

To breathe in whispers of mist a sundown sea?

 

 

Oppositions collide inside my reflecting themes,

 

 

Defy the burn of being with sleek considerations:

 

 

Imagine the metaphysics underlying a magic ball,

 

 

A world gone mad in teeming tones of reasoning,

 

 

Undoing itself like flinging patterns of lightwaves

 

 

Unweaving, intertwining signs of curving beams,

 

 

Unfiltered and bursting, these shrieking atoms split,

 

 

Resist this knowledge, insidious as cancer cells,

 

 

A gleam of evil inevitable & adversary's glare.

 

 

Could I tremble a way to understanding I would,

 

 

Or speak of him who stood amid the smoldering,

 

 

Satan rebuffed and fell with deep inclination down,

 

 

To set against the infinite will a personal grudge,

 

 

Unhoned and embittered by self-congratulation,

 

 

Fierce with withering hatred of all, refurbishing

 

 

Good for all among them not him, screening eye

 

 

Decrying the holy plan, receiving no good thing,

 

 

Seething inside for sake of blank empty hate...

 

 

Expedient with fear I avoid saying more of this,

 

 

Nor will I embellish our histories of evil-seeking

 

 

In the woof and webs and warping of humankind:

 

 

They are there for all to see, this ancient tapestry

 

 

Winding about our bones in sheets of winnowing

 

 

Oppression, a decaying film of incessant surmise,

 

 

Where a faint hint of ending, the same as briefest

 

 

Surprise, ignites the final light of dying, dimming,

 

 

The shuttered eyes invariably closed forever.

 

 

I sat in the awesome councils of God and gazed

 

 

Over these resplendent faces, seawaves of intent,

 

 

Intelligences, fierce splashes of eyes, unendingly

 

 

Whirling horizons, specifying attractions, powers

 

 

Of electrified combinations, reflecting all and me,

 

 

And knew then that I knew my soul being called

 

 

Into form would be among their planetary plans,

 

 

The galaxies reverberating the beginning word

 

 

And solemn enhancements of my Perfect Father.

 

 

I ward off a worm in my bone with memories

 

 

Immediate as lusters of stars inside my mind,

 

 

Reawakening a precision imagination of body

 

 

And soul, flowing illumination inside my brain,

 

 

Echoing a far and spherical center of creation,

 

 

Breathing the presence of a love I knew then,

 

 

The careful hand that bathed me in becoming,

 

 

An all invisible view, a parallax of perfection,

 

 

Revisiting my source beyond disappearance.

 

 

I hack at perplexity like sandstorms in my eyes,

 

 

I grope at my flesh untied by time and wonder,

 

 

I seize ratchets of belief to etch my broken teeth,

 

 

I catch an easy passion flown past me like wind,

 

 

I try to inhale my darling whose essence lingers,

 

 

I misplace pickets of me and stagger over pieces,

 

 

I reach to my feet and find them dematerialized,

 

 

I coast to sleep into a moonlit sea of memories,

 

 

I forget to wake when the town is up and about.

 

 

If dolphins clarify the sea before them surging,

 

 

Inborn with echosystems of seeking shrieks,

 

 

If whales levitate with appealing ease in spray

 

 

The eyes of wonder under a water-gilded sky,

 

 

If seeming vastness remembers each drop flung,

 

 

Belying these involvements, blue encroachment,

 

 

Who am I to seize upon my own faint designs,

 

 

To identify the doming and delving mysteries,

 

 

Their translucent cries, their teeming selves?

 

 

Try to organize inchoate thrusts of perceptions:

 

 

See hummingbirds dart in & about tiny points,

 

 

Needles of insights telling the bees where to go,

 

 

Weaving secret scents at the heart of red roses,

 

 

Bedazzling themselves as notes in open throats,

 

 

High C's high, white hot sighs, The Holy Ghost,

 

 

Creations unfolding in blooming infinite petals,

 

 

To see the least of creations like looping strings,  

 

 

Praise too fine to see, except in righteous eyes.

 

 

Numberless sparrows and each a quantum digit,

 

 

Grackles along wires like strings of calculation,

 

 

Insects so many beyond senses, rendering dust,

 

 

Variegated skies like charcoal-pastel visions,

 

 

Showers of numbers spattering on white sand;

 

 

Immaculate seasons' code of frost encompasses

 

 

All this, as my own beating heart counts days,

 

 

Secures a grief against the empty hand of loss,

 

 

And pressured flesh, ensaddened, remembers.

 

 

Quantify particulars at the risk of consciousness,

 

 

Crack each fissure inside a reason reluctantly,

 

 

For floes of particles like irradiant radar blips,

 

 

Whirl about screens&circles&locate themselves

 

 

Turning inward toward presuppositions known

 

 

Only among the amazed, our brief convolutions

 

 

Among us walking with solemn considerations,

 

 

Simple as Christ our Lord touching a forehead

 

 

Unto raising up a deathbound flesh everlasting.

 

 

Holy Word unspoken, Holy the Spoken Word,

 

 

Patterns unveiling in infinite recesses of spirit:

 

 

I have seen the briefest eyes becoming glazed,

 

 

Wink at what they do not see and recognizing

 

 

Me as part of the pattern unfolding in a drop

 

 

Of consecrated oil, reflections of Jesus Christ:

 

 

Holy, Holy, Holy, the moment of this passing,

 

 

The blending of Creation into the shadow end,

 

 

The leaven of morning stirring a rising beam.

 

 

Consider conduits of moving intervals inside us,

 

 

Impossibly resolved in shimmers of interference,

 

 

Threats of staccato reversals, visible visitations

 

 

Radiating flashes of magic disassembling cities,

 

 

Blisters forsworn in superheated inducements,

 

 

Auroras of radio waves under a rotting swamp,

 

 

Electrical currents crackling throughout a rock,

 

 

Men miming the sun like dropped cups of red,

 

 

Blowing smoke rings to galaxies of black holes.

 

 

Tell me men ignite no sparks or stir another soul

 

 

Inside eyes of women awaiting homeward shade;

 

 

Tell me roots of vegetation twist to our invention,

 

 

Blind as random slipstreams above us gathering,

 

 

Skies inside us emptied of knowing intelligence;

 

 

Invent calculations entangled as beads emerging,

 

 

Abacus of breath strung among lyres and singing;

 

 

Tell me I know no soul inside the body of my bride,

 

 

Quietly unwinding her God-intoned escapements.

 

 

We do believe inevitable adversities commingle

 

 

In thickets, in clods, in pods, in deeds, in shards,

 

 

In stasis, in streak, in twitch, in tears, in creases,

 

 

In keep, in sleep, in wake, in call, in cease, in be,

 

 

In part, in bleed, in sigh, in sin, in click, in birth,

 

 

In pile, in smile, in turn, in join, in break, in fate,

 

 

In take, in drop, in raise, in lose, in heart, in fall,

 

 

So joy be full in Adam abandoned and ever Eve,

 

 

The seek we share, sight of Him again, our God.

 

 

Meaning dances in mirrors upon a shattered sky,

 

 

We see behind the blaze a form in naming Adam,

 

 

The Seem involved in bytes of knowledge risen

 

 

Suddenly up, foretold, generations resurrected,

 

 

As if surprise in our eyes in mysteries unblinking

 

 

Were thinking in quantums & redefining reasons

 

 

Never told before rolled up in scrolls of scripture:

 

 

A plot unfolds in a furrows' day of recompense,

 

 

Certain verification of God and our Father's Son.

 

 

I can only say what I say knowing next to none,

 

 

Wedged between an aloneness and Holy Spirit,

 

 

Snatching at forgotten understandings in dreams,

 

 

Recall in spots the wisps of where I came from,

 

 

Report a blur of years like a clear kaleidoscope

 

 

Turned inward, perplexity becoming perspective,

 

 

Aim a brief arrow at my heart & teletype a word,

 

 

Like a click of telegraphy or electric acupuncture,

 

 

The slurred underpinning of faith & belief allied.

 

 

I cannot try to deify entireties of encyclopedias:

 

 

I revere immortal Milton w/ 3rd espoused saint

 

 

By his side divining iambics & squeezing apple

 

 

Pear shapes into miles of thundering colloquies,

 

 

Skipping at hedges of politics and picking fights

 

 

In Eden, his masterly knowhow in blinding light,

 

 

Explaining man to God with diplomatic relations.

 

 

Notwithstanding quickstars in crystalline domes,

 

 

My inverted bowl stirs whirlpools of pinpricks.

 

 

Blinded by reason I devise new ways of seeing,

 

 

Emerge in shapes of self-inclination imagining,

 

 

Skew perspective's spiral sides & turn 2 ways,

 

 

Be as a bird who knew beforehand up & down,

 

 

Repeat the sky like crystal lakes subsume blue,

 

 

Resonate each rocky click repeatedly clashing,

 

 

Forgo foregone conclusions alluding in clouds,

 

 

Synthesize ambiguities in razors and measures,

 

 

Cut along an edge of pictures carefully & paste.

 

 

I think I will glue it all upon a butterfly's flutter,

 

 

Fork a spotlight sideways by a beam in my eye,

 

 

Count backwards from infinity to a firecracker,

 

 

Start a falling line of dominoes I have in mind,

 

 

Inspect agitations on the other side of the moon,

 

 

Redo the blue of daytime with a silver zipper,

 

 

Speak secretly into split rocky chips blinking,

 

 

Scrabble codes in vortices of my inner seeds,

 

 

While away singularity as if waiting my turn.

 

 

The enfolded codes adorning a morning sun

 

 

In streams of creation radiate into this boy

 

 

Who gathered his questions in sacks of veils,

 

 

Kneeling among green energies above him,

 

 

Simply asked Father why and who to trust

 

 

When all voices he heard combined in din,

 

 

When not knowing why before he was told

 

 

Is a razor splitting open those closed skies,

 

 

Admitting bright answers as from new sun.

 

 

Joseph looked over a wooden crooked fence,

 

 

Constructed by his own hands for his father,

 

 

Listened fervently to the meadowlark's echo,

 

 

That far cry wherein his God could hear him.

 

 

Nearby he knew a sacred grove all his own,

 

 

Ringing and enshrining with gleaming leaves

 

 

Being melded into shadows of ancient truths,

 

 

Where he could tell the sky secrets to glorify

 

 

Straightforward uncurving rays of knowledge.

 

 

They stood still as double suns above the boy,

 

 

Smiling down upon his knee-prone amazement,

 

 

His simple faith the fiery center unveiling truth

 

 

As tangled amid the ebbs of withdrawing tides

 

 

Of mankind, confounded by knowing too much.

 

 

Centers of affirmation in forms he recognized,

 

 

Like as his father and brothers and of himself,

 

 

In a moment knowing more than all consigned

 

 

Before in sentient convening of human minds.

 

 

I know I need my Father's love as Joseph did:

 

 

How I hold a word sacred as a piece of bread

 

 

Between my fingertips, how water is blessed,

 

 

How I believe I fit an overview of everything

 

 

With no limits on imagination, how I comply

 

 

With promises I made as I was ordered with

 

 

An emergence: this celestial symmetry breaks,

 

 

Organized into miracles of crystalline lattices,

 

 

Atoms emerging bright chips in my own form.

 

 

 

SACRED GROVE

 

 

PRAEPOSITIO

(INVOCATION)

 

 

To be an electric light that flares as it dies,

 

 

To wind time in the spring of an old clock,

 

 

I follow, Father, the Mormon Epic to now,

 

 

Lighting my signs & ticking my missives;

 

 

I say my story is true & Jesus Christ alive,

 

 

That a daytime forever Joseph Smith told

 

 

Saves the best for last to be again foretold

 

 

In visions and blessings of old news made

 

 

New for the one last time in shining words.

 

 

A time before mine in the only view I know,

 

 

Limited in the long telescope turned round,

 

 

As if removed further inside my tiny visions,

 

 

To see vast landscapes finely sharp far off,

 

 

As if selfsame scenes inside my own brain

 

 

Grasped my feeling senses & shaped inside

 

 

My soul those signals sent in flashes along

 

 

The wires of my spirit, pinging in the mist,

 

 

Time gone by, muscle of mind responding.

 

 

Flowing inside the Iron Rod, Lehi's dream,

 

 

Beholding a tree behind an icy mist of death,

 

 

Life itself growing in the tree, seen as being

 

 

A grasp of roots, clasping into the ground,

 

Deep in Cumorah, sheening plates, golden

 

Leaves, new revelation, old as time known

 

 

Only to God as continual now and daytime

 

 

Forever, dreams made real, Joseph's mind.

 

 

I'll try, Father, to listen my way to an epic.

 

 

I sing of visions long ago foretold by Joseph,

 

 

Retold in the telling as Mormon Epic song,

 

 

How Joseph found the golden secret inside;

 

 

So my eye becomes a word I find within me,

 

 

A word among sounds of a word made real,

 

 

Word of the interim world we know as earth,

 

 

Preexistent in the world we knew as a Word,

 

 

Song of our Father's Son, our elder brother,

 

 

Christ our Lord & only Name under heaven.

 

 

Contradicted by iconoclasts & Mormon exes,

 

 

What view do I have then, born among men?

 

 

No superhero, I, nor unbending theologian,

 

 

No many-tricked magician or strict logician

 

 

No; no Moses, I, no burning bush to tell me

 

 

I AM THAT I AM HE WHO IS has a mission

 

 

For you to fulfill: water into blood now you

 

 

See it now you don't card trick of leprosy &

 

 

Leaping lizard off a staff entwined with air.

 

 

Would that I could but I can't is all I can say?

 

 

I intend to do what was done millenniums ago

 

 

When epic words were sung among believers.

 

 

Now my time's an electric firestorm of icons

 

 

Infesting video screens & evil burns in eyes

 

 

Unconsumed by the glare of lies made real,

 

 

Appearing before me & telling me I can't be

 

 

More than a scribe to the new millennium of

 

 

Writhing snakes, blood to water, rottenness.

 

 

As a compost kicked up by confused gospels,

 

 

False doctrines abounded in Joseph's time,

 

 

Misunderstandings made men unamazed,

 

 

Just as the first lie Am I my brother's keeper?

 

 

Makes murder for fun appealing on screen,

 

 

Glittering in echoes inside the pixels dancing,

 

 

The sex tease undressed & celebrated as joy,

 

 

50 million babies crushed in the rush to sin,

 

 

The Torah shredded to waste underfoot, dust.

 

 

As a voice from the dust speaking to us now,

 

 

Out of the ground to whisper out of the dust,

 

 

Words of the faithful dead out of a dead-end

 

 

Dust, divining a living word as a sacred wine,

 

 

So to Joseph then as now our broken branch,

 

 

Springing from a vineyard's springtime vine:

 

 

So to Joseph, son of Jacob, & Joseph Smith Jr,

 

 

Son of Joseph of Palmyra, tending to boughs

 

 

Prophesied to yield a new fruit everlastingly.

 

 

Palmyra, mighty name for a tiny township;

 

 

Joseph, a common name for a mighty man;

 

 

So the paradoxes multiply in mighty names

 

 

Of common towns of New York State, 1816.

 

 

Great-god-Google informs me that glory still

 

 

Resides in vestiges of ancient magnificences

 

 

Inscribed and riddled on limestone statuary

 

 

Where slabs defy description of Nike shoes:

 

 

Ozimandias aside, the vanities of ancient ages

 

 

Stamp upon us grand ambition made manifest;

 

 

Joseph moves to Palmyra at ten years of age

 

 

With the humblest of names in the humblest of

 

 

Circumstances where ambition passes him by,

 

 

Naming him not even first of common names,

 

 

But Junior to the world; it never occurs to him

 

 

His name will be known for good and for evil,

 

 

Both good & evil spoken of among all people.

 

 

I say Joseph's name be known for good and

 

 

Evil among all nations, kindreds & tongues;

 

 

I say his name be spoken both good and evil

 

 

Among all people, depending upon ambitions

 

 

Of men, they being good or they being evil in

 

 

Their recognition of a prophet; I say also he

 

 

Be recognized as being the man upon whose

 

 

Word, good or evil, we shall always depend.

 

 

I conclude he did not lie & he told the truth.

 

 

If Joseph were wrong, it would matter more

 

 

Than I can say, he of whom I compose this

 

 

Mormon Epic and all that followed to now;

 

 

I contemplate the consequences if he lied,

 

 

Unthinkable to my bloodline-generations of 

 

 

Latter-day Saints, my genealogy of Wilcox:

 

 

I balance the possibility against the facts as

 

 

Each man must when hearing his story told:

 

 

I conclude he did not lie & he told the truth.

 

 

Could I be wrong? No. How do I know? Yes.

 

 

Of this I'll sing my epic song & do in outline

 

 

All I know of heroes whom I know as heroes.

 

 

Yes means the meanings I've amassed in my

 

 

 

Lifetime's palimpsest, underwriting my spirit

 

 

In layers of understanding, codifying present

 

 

View & all that happened to me up to now: I

 

 

See through a glass darkly to light, beyond my

 

 

Mortal ability as mere man become Mormon.

 

 

Be it Miltonic or Homeric or free-verse-wise

 

 

I stylize my words as they go thru my mindset

 

 

Heaven-word, knowing full well my dim limit

 

 

Of life that flickers like an electric light bulb

 

 

Bright and dark at intervals, places inside my

 

 

Fleshy brain a burn of spirit and time winding

 

 

Down in all my turns of winding, until I can

 

 

Say this is what I say and this is what I know

 

 

Of all I've seen and known, so help me God.

 

 

So much for me my word being bendable by

 

 

Daytime light known only by me as mirrors

 

 

Or clusters of fragments dropped and each

 

 

Reflects sharp edges of part of what I see so

 

 

I need whole insights into all I say of these

 

 

Immense vistas of time behind the telling of

 

 

How Joseph came to be one man made ready

 

 

To testify of all that came before & all that is

 

 

To come of man & woman made one in God.

 

 

Were I a Greek singer of epic song I'd plead

 

 

POLYHYMNIA ancient muse of sacred poetry,

 

 

To fortify my mind in paradigm & archetype;

 

 

I need to say in song what has so long been

 

 

Described in particulars: so being a modern

 

 

Mormon man amazed I must call upon thee,

 

 

FATHER, for more than I myself am capable,

 

 

So I may show amazing days of Restoration,

 

 

So I may render clearly the soul of meaning.

 

 

Song in turn of the sun & glow of the moon

 

 

In stars illumining lights of Joseph's mind,

 

 

Urim and Thummin delving diamond-deep,

 

 

Flickering in deep lakes inside, revelations

 

 

Like sparkling shafts & beams rise upward

 

 

When set upon with amazement, the depths

 

 

Beneath these histories, engraved in gold &

 

 

Told in brass, a time so few knew of before,

 

 

Discerned in seer stones' pure translucence.

 

 

Attend me in my words, O Heavenly Father,

 

 

For I must go farther than I've gone before:

 

 

To tell the story of a great hero I need Thee:

 

 

I speak in a time when no hero's given heed,

 

 

No hero outside of fiction deemed to be real

 

 

& Machiavellian machinations seeming true

 

 

Cluster about the bones of murdered words:

 

 

When all names are false and full of smiles,

 

 

Deriding the truth is the way to recognition.

 

 

Liars & men who fear only truth conceal souls

 

 

That fly away like vultures feeding scattering

 

 

In the new sun rising seeming amazed merely

 

 

Caught mid-air in flight fearful morning sun

 

 

May show them their own shadows clawing at

 

 

The lies which feed them scornful of a new sun

 

 

On the offal they love revealed as dead carrion;

 

 

So it is when new revelations gleam down on

 

 

Old miscarried twistings, liars rage at the sun.

 

 

Joseph didn't know of a bright video screen:

 

 

I see Joseph through a glass darkly in light:

 

 

Confused signals might seem to Joseph snow,

 

 

Daguerreotypes sent spinning in blizzards of

 

 

Blankness & electrical storms into TV snow.

 

 

So let me see Joseph as he'd see men clearly,

 

 

Men milling in evil combinations who wait to

 

 

Obliterate what's left of righteousness & then

 

 

Smother understanding in blizzards of sleaze.

 

 

Where do I begin? Joseph then as seen thru now.

 

 

I pick out any point in his life & like a hologram

 

 

Reflects back in upon itself full pictures emerge;

 

 

Receding images full of inner reflections create

 

 

Mirrors sun & glory of his God while shattering

 

 

The life-lies of men afraid of singularity --  a point

 

 

At the exact center of all energies caught in the

 

 

Event horizon of his belief & faith as his words

 

 

Explode the shattered pane, "Oh Lord my God!"

 

 

So who is Joseph that I should sing of him?

 

 

Herein the hologram emerges in his mind:

 

 

Beaming thru miracles of inspired insights

 

 

He sees men struggle to understand alone,

 

 

That he cannot see without a laser to guide

 

 

Thru the mist of centuries a misunderstood

 

 

View deleted to be re-edited by committees

 

 

Who never saw the Savior's face nor heard

 

 

His clear words & clarion call to His truth.

 

 

How could he have known what he'd yet do?

 

 

Achieve blessings yet untold in deeds known

 

 

Only by Heavenly Father, unsung among men,

 

 

When all around raged acrimonious slanders?

 

 

What did he see that he should be killed for it?

 

 

What vapid views so uneasy of dull reflections

 

 

Engendered murder against a boy seeking truth?

 

 

Now we know and now we can see what Joseph

 

 

Would see as he fell through the gleaming glass.

 

 

They said we are wisps of mist & God likewise;

 

 

Joseph told us our mind & intelligence matter.

 

 

They said God was hidden amongst the clouds;

 

 

Joseph told us intelligence or the light of truth

 

 

Was not created or made nor indeed can be so,

 

 

For we are co-eternal with our Maker & Father

 

 

Who delights in our progression to be like Him.

 

 

Not a nothing seeking redemption from nothing

 

 

But children of God seeking a way home to Him.

 

 

Eternity matters most when mind & spirit falter:

 

 

To see the future past endurance & matter die,

 

 

Living inceptions wavering in desert delusions,

 

 

Vast cactus horizons, great circles of awareness

 

 

Radiating outward toward blue glasslike sky.

 

 

On our own we see nothing beyond this mirror,

 

 

Easy access to nothing more than we imagine,

 

 

Images programmed to disappear in deception,

 

 

Mirages fetched up by dust devils in the wind.

 

 

Preachers rankle at philosophies predestined

 

 

To obfuscate the simple sayings of the Savior:

 

 

Joseph sets a ring of common sense back into

 

 

The center of eternity without beginning or

 

 

End where the jewel of eternal life marks the

 

 

Beginning place without end and circles back

 

 

To the utmost reach of Heavenly Father's plan

 

 

So man may be in the beginning place again

 

 

With Him & know the joy of life without end.

 

 

Pastors rant about matters concerning men,

 

 

Pay heed to each other's clever opinions set

 

 

Like verities astride the Bible & claim truth

 

 

Is what they say best most smoothly defined.

 

 

Joseph wonders which is the way to heaven.

 

 

Predeterminations to death seem nonsense.

 

 

Babies sent tumbling into fires of oblivions,

 

 

Committees constructing what the Lord has

 

 

To say without a hint of direct verification.

 

 

So the Holy Priesthood enters the loud fray

 

 

Without his being fully aware what will be

 

 

His place in a plan he knows no one knows,

 

 

Neither he as a boy who can simply wonder

 

 

Nor words beyond his ability to make clear,

 

 

Claims of learned men contending in letters

 

 

Instead of plain sense & patches of disdain

 

 

For meanings made simple enough for the

 

 

Fourteen year old boy to consider his own.

 

 

Priests revealing schemes counter to Christ:

 

 

Ancient misgivings flung about carelessly as

 

 

Fiats fly like pottery thru stained glass caric-

 

 

atures, doctrine derived through guesswork,

 

 

Alien creeds wound like broken threads into

 

 

Patchwork fabrics covering secret sins while

 

 

Celibacy's mistaken for chastity & bedeviling

 

 

Themselves with whips, Adam's body denied;

 

 

No wonder Joseph was hated for asking why.

 

 

The day Darwin stumbled upon Galapagos

 

 

Joseph forms a quorum of 12 apostles along

 

 

With a quorum of 70 in intelligent patterns.

 

 

1/2 world away Darwin dawdles 2 dead birds

 

 

Tender as sleeping babes, puts 2 & 2 together

 

 

Like 2 rocks striking sparks, decides birds &

 

 

Rocks are chains changing with the weather,

 

 

Links bound together in solemn assemblies of

 

 

Death-bound accidents happening but once.

 

 

Young Karl marks the year 1835 as profound

 

 

& begins to untangle the meaning of meaning;

 

 

Searching nature for hints of consistency, he

 

 

Comes across the brazen fact that men amass

 

 

For themselves wealth they may never deserve;

 

 

In the same year Joseph is presented scratches

 

 

Of Egyptian cuneiform on scrolls of papyri,

 

 

Proceeds to untangle the mysterious markings:

 

 

Reveals an inspired icon, a Pearl of Great Price.

 

 

As hummingbirds search among competing bees,

 

 

Whisking petals for drips of new nectarine dew,

 

 

Joseph's mind plies folds of the past for insights,

 

 

Seizes upon garbles of twisted Egyptian script &

 

 

Reports a source not known among men in eons,

 

 

Jumps past common leaves & books of breathing

 

 

Directly to a point of knowledge God gives him.

 

 

God only knows men see what they are at heart.

 

 

Joseph sees thru a maze amazing hieroglyphics.

 

 

Transcribing the soul of meaning Joseph skips

 

 

Past traps that catch the minds of men offending

 

 

God as they fend off man with lethal schemes

 

 

So complex as to dignify chaos with a name . . .

 

 

Marx buttons the universe into a straitjacket.

 

 

Darwin describes mud & everything's just fine.

 

 

Joseph listens to the Holy Spirit rustling leaves

 

 

& breathes new meaning into a lost transcript:

 

 

The Book of Abraham is brought to men exactly.

 

 

How did it happen he finds a point of clarity

 

 

When all about him rage false priestcrafts 

 

 

Insidious designs too clever for a boy's mind?

 

 

Herein is the story to tell when we remember

 

 

How Joseph came to know what men had so

 

 

Grappled & fought for in battles lost to past

 

 

Imagination, how simple truth & simple faith

 

 

Prevail over dedicated foes of godly decency:

 

 

Joseph saw clearly through centuries of lies.

 

 

What did Joseph not know he had to find out?

 

 

A boy amongst tumults of opinion & fire-fights

 

 

Of blazing words, each opinion a bullet flaming

 

 

To a target grown-ups could see but not Joseph.

 

 

Decisions based upon quarrels lost and salvation

 

 

Hanging tight by threads each would cut joyfully

 

 

To prove the only way to heaven's down an aisle

 

 

Proclaiming Jesus a lightning strike of emotion.

 

 

Aftermath of such bravado? stench of cold ash.

 

 

Buzz-words bend hot iron rods of Holy Writ.

 

 

Something in the balance did not make sense:

 

 

A burn of faith in his bosom equaled any storm

 

 

Of words but not a shelter against cross-winds

 

 

Of opinion, unholy slanders of his quiet Christ;

 

 

He needed peace to prevail in his aching heart,

 

 

Not roils & turbulence, arguments of who said

 

 

What to who in chapters of old battered Bibles

 

 

Where verses proving one way was right were

 

 

Underlined in red ink, flashed like black knives.

 

 

Deity sees beginning and end from beginning:

 

 

So how would a common teen know a chorus

 

 

Sung low as a tabernacle choir of memories &

 

 

So many lines running soft in rills of melody?

 

 

Joseph would find day by day in common toil

 

 

And bloody struggle his theme song beginning:

 

 

Find the Gods were planning how man could

 

 

Find a way to perfection, a way home to Father

 

 

& Mother waiting quietly by a gate to eternity.

 

              DEUS EX MACHINA 

   

 

So it begins: a question why he wants to know:

 

 

Who could he go to when no one knew more

 

 

Than he: a boy perturbed beyond explanation,

 

 

Deep down pandemonium of soul unexplained,

 

 

Perplexed by matters seeming far beyond him,

 

 

Concerned with the why of all philosophies of

 

 

Men when no one seemed to know the why &

 

 

How of why we are here and why if flesh has

 

 

Meaning beyond dust it becomes nothingness?

 

 

They who had more answers than questions

 

 

Questioned nothing, waited for other's answers.

 

 

If man is made in God's image, why has He no

 

 

Body? Can empty mirrors see other mirrors in

 

 

Nothing more than nothing? It made no sense.

 

 

Was flesh a spun mass of sin formed into being

 

 

By a loving Creator to be condemned for being?

 

 

When the spring sparkles with rhododendrons,

 

 

Why do mockingbirds echo their little prayers?

 

 

Seeking a grove he knows of, a spot of quietude,

 

 

Joseph can hear the meadowlarks  far afield of

 

 

His father's farm, calling to him as if they know

 

 

What no man knows for sure, sure ceremonies

 

 

Of innocence before Eden, sure signs like clicks

 

 

& swish of wings flittering amidst the branches,

 

 

A temple of lucent silence broken only by chip

 

 

& brush of leaf against leaf, occasional cicada's

 

 

Hymning, gleam of sunlight amid pure shadow.

 

 

Here the Holy Spirit he seeks, beaming in blue

 

 

Cascades of sky, the fresh breath of a soft breeze,

 

 

As if clearing a way to heaven, a weft of quiet,

 

 

A harp woven of interlaced threads of gestures,

 

 

Quick fingers strumming the surrounding hum

 

 

Of bees mingling in flowers their soft-spoken joy,

 

 

Being what they are, instruments of Almighty

 

 

Knowledge, creation's beginning & foreknown

 

 

Weave, all he needs to know of Heaven & Hell.

 

 

Who does he speak to when pastors say God

 

 

Stands by & watches what happens to snarls of

 

 

Cross-intentions amongst lonely humankind &

 

 

Striving to understand ancient tongues spoken

 

 

In classic idiom removed from everyday speech,

 

 

So far removed they speak neo-Shakespearean

 

 

Terms no one understands but all try to emulate?

 

 

The boy considers he might make sense of this

 

 

If he reads closely what God himself has to say.

 

 

As he walks toward the grove, he remembers

 

 

James' Epistle: "If any of you lack wisdom, let

 

him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally,

 

 

and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him."

 

 

Simple enough. Makes sense. A lot more sense

 

 

Than jabber he can't understand. The Bible says

 

 

Only God can tell him what he wants to know,

 

 

So the answer's clear as a spring morning 1820.

 

 

He'll ask his Father in Heaven what he should do.

 

 

Joseph doesn't know any better all the bitter

 

 

Precepts God is gone and lost to man who now

 

 

Alone tries to figure out ancient scriptures of

 

 

Peoples lost to modern memory; these regrets

 

 

Fall upon innocent ears of a boy who knows his

 

 

Father, who knows his father does not lie to him,

 

 

Who answers questions when he asks sincerely:

 

 

He will be answered, which row should he plow,

 

 

Which furrow is most promising to bear fruit?

 

 

Morning sun casts long shadows across the land;

 

 

Disputations of raucous neighbors lie behind him.

 

 

He finds a path in undergrowth, makes his way

 

 

In silence, walks toward the grove he's chosen.

 

 

No one knows the path; not even he anticipates.

 

 

He must find out as he sees lilies in lush clover,

 

 

Large trillium flowers blooming in early purple,

 

 

Pink later on in age & time as all things grow &

 

 

Change & all he knows is... he does not know.

 

 

Joseph's special place, the one he knows by heart.

 

 

He left an ax in a stump like a cleft of reflection.

 

 

The very air in the grove that morning shimmers:

 

 

Bright sunlight thru white curtains of cool birch;

 

Whitewood forest of his father's farm yet uncut;

 

 

Stands of hardwood forest maples hophornbeam

 

 

& beech & wild cherry rise thick about with ash

 

 

Oak hickory elm canopies of aspen & tree trunks

 

 

Grown wide around & white as Solomon's pillars.

 

 

Joseph's arms cling to his sides like vines clasp

 

 

These reaching trees standing dead still while

 

 

His breath becomes a sudden interim holding in

 

 

A beating heart at the core as if he's becoming

 

 

Like a tree in ages of growth in outward rings

 

Alive but stirring no movement to record life.

 

 

It's like the verge of leaping into a cold stream

 

 

To swim knowing a shock of impact may be at

 

 

Once like slap of liquid ice or fierce undertow.

 

 

Joseph feels a surge of anticipation as he kneels,

 

 

No one knows what he's about to do, not even he.

 

 

The only eyes upon him peek out in butterflies

 

 

& quick blinks of squirrels playing hide & seek

 

 

With their destinies & never see the teeth snap.

 

 

He knows he's alone with whatever thundered

 

 

In storms a year ago and beat against the glass.

 

 

A clear day's promise may unwind an anguish

 

 

Of waiting, answers never ticked out in clocks.

 

 

How do you pray? he wonders as he closes his

 

 

Eyes for a moment, knowing you shut out the

 

 

Light of life which may distract deep meditation,

 

 

But how does he garble aloud the mix of words

 

 

He's heard in churches which seem so far from

 

 

The quiet of this grove, his first prayer spoken?

 

 

Quickly he opens his eyes again to see & hear

 

 

The familiar scene around him in faint rustling

 

 

Of leaves by tiny creatures hiding like children.

 

 

SHUDDERING BLACK INVADES THICK AS DOOMSDAY:

 

Not an absence of light so much as liquid tar

 

 

Pouring down upon him all around his body

 

 

In bands of ebony & steel muscles tightening

 

 

A wrestling hold he'd never heard of before,

 

 

Wily cheater's stranglehold of deadly intent,

 

 

Not the kind he knew & fended off for fun

 

 

With his brothers but savage endgame grip

 

 

Of fist & arm to crush inexorably his throat.

 

 

Preening open power Joseph never knew of,

 

 

Rancid words of an extinct tongue unknown

 

 

Flatulated against his ears & nostrils heavily,

 

 

Breathing a horrid excremental extortion in

 

 

Scrambled tones of fierce excitement of rape,

 

 

A kind of craving to die inside & suck his soul

 

 

Dry of hope or any human feeling left of love,

 

 

A blankness of black spirit seizing his insides,

 

 

Merciless infestation of every ill ever known.

 

 

This total attack struck unexpectedly as a storm

 

 

On a bright day, a tornado of impending death,

 

 

No choice left to move or even breathe another

 

 

Breath, no clear air ever again outside a grave,

 

 

As if every bludgeon ever brought down upon

 

 

An innocent child of God were suddenly brought

 

 

To bear at one exact point, the crown of Joseph's

 

 

Head, sending exquisite shocks of static despair

 

 

Into his bosom, a feeling he had never known.

 

 

As if he had carelessly cracked crystal jars of jet

 

 

Ink globs blotting out bright sunshine he loved;

 

 

As if he'd crossed a line he never knew existed

 

 

To be damned for rules no one had told him of;

 

 

As if he stirred a hornet's nest of demon wasps

 

 

Only to be consumed by fire ants of his nerves;

 

 

As if he spoke the unspeakable by not speaking,

 

 

So the universe crashed in about him unaware

 

 

Of what he could never know unless he asked.

 

 

Before he could ascertain if he'd gone mad or no,

 

 

Before he could figure how very air turned iron,

 

 

How ground rose up around him in steely cords,

 

 

Twisting bands, a skulking morass, manifest hate,

 

 

Your final end of despair, convoluted tar-pit of

 

 

Ebony snakes, massive octopus of sleek oily arms

 

 

Catching him dead still, meaningless pain, stasis,

 

 

Crushing beak of invisible evil breathless to kill,

 

 

Telling him all is lost abandon hope enter here.

 

 

How do I describe what only Joseph experienced?

 

 

I'll try, Father, to speak in words that can't be said

 

 

Nor spoken aloud in tones of mortal knowledge:

 

 

A bottom of nothing pulled out below his knees

 

 

Suddenly suspending him over a spacetime black

 

 

Hole unknown nor even guessed at by anyone at

 

 

All before men could know ether-locked visions,

 

 

Unending black holes across a starry night inside

 

 

Centers of sheer energy only you, Father, know.

 

 

We may be near to guessing a chink at the edge

 

 

Of the universe Thou created can be what Joseph

 

 

Knew at the hands of a crass intelligence blotted

 

 

Out from your presence & damned to outer dark,

 

 

Who well knew Joseph threatened his blackness.

 

 

The dots of light of Joseph's mind & soul shining

 

 

As noonday sun reflecting the source of all sun

 

 

In Thy creations too vast for us to grasp at once

 

 

Yet with Joseph's faith can find on bended knee.

 

 

Poor poet that I am I sigh aloud my hyperboles,

 

 

But what can I say in presence of inexpressible

 

 

Glories of God except with the language I know,

 

 

Glories now known thru Joseph's mind in view

 

 

Of heavens & multiplying starforms & creations

 

 

Unendingly brought about by Almighty Powers?

 

 

While man's knowledge is grudgingly nudged

 

 

Out of facts he can see, the invisible properties

 

 

Of God's intelligence streak like shocks in wires.

 

 

Therefore grasp them at your peril, man, they jolt

 

 

The edges of eternity & Joseph is cast into a chasm

 

 

Of black by the adversary to frighten him to death,

 

 

To ward off the plan Lucifer feared, foreordained

 

 

Without his will or co-operation but blooming in

 

 

Springtime verdure of the grove, to be retrieved

 

 

By young Joseph without guile who had only faith

 

 

To lead him to places no man knows without the

 

 

Permission of Him who knew beforehand this day.

 

 

In the last moment before he knew he would die

 

 

Joseph flashed upon his question which called

 

 

Aloud in the deepest part of his soul to answer

 

 

What was happening in man and himself that

 

 

Demanded recognition, that pled for the mercy

 

 

Of knowing where he was going, where he'd be

 

 

At the moment of his last breath, falling into a

 

 

Black hole of the grave forever or lifted by his

 

 

Loving Father to the newness of ever knowing.

 

 

A hush of motion lightly sweeps thru the grove

 

 

Like a hand brushes soot away from an ivory vase;

 

 

The foul black haze evaporates in a fresh breeze.

 

 

Joseph takes a deep breath, wonders if it really

 

 

Happened or if he'd passed out in desperation of

 

 

Ever speaking a clear thought again in his voice.

 

 

He coughs a couple of times to clear his throat,

 

 

Folds his hands before him as his mother taught,

 

 

Searches for words to say to his Heavenly Father.

 

 

So no black entity would intervene--for entity

 

 

It was--he bows his head and hopes for the best.

 

 

Joseph knew well the difference between night-

 

 

mares and daytime struggle of powerful muscles,

 

 

Of bending back opponents in a wrestling match,

 

 

Of crying "Uncle!" and laughing so hard they fall

 

 

In a heap of comradeship & hearty compromise.

 

 

This was no brotherly dare made loving struggle,

 

 

No, this was for keeps: two souls in mortal strife.

 

 

To see beyond all description of light as Joseph

 

 

Told us he saw, I'd need a metaphysical metaphor,

 

 

New language to tell what happened next, unique

 

 

Types of speech to write my epic poem, yet I must

 

 

Toss my tiny pebbles into the Grand Canyon to call

 

 

Up an echo in a vastness beyond my understanding,

 

 

Words existing real as far clicks of rocks scraped

 

 

Against gigantic sides rife with tiny hints of God

 

 

Who listens to a sigh of who I am in sand, singing.

 

 

I might come close to telling what I did not see

 

 

If I imagine a sudden sun of the hydrogen bomb

 

 

Imploding fusion in the center of a man-made

 

 

Starburst, for flesh cannot be so made a burn of

 

 

Being & survive the flash of instant eternity. 

 

 

The cloak of white light settled down on Joseph

 

 

In a form he saw as a pillar to protect him from

 

 

Unimaginable light and energy focused directly

 

 

Over his head, above the brightness of the sun.

 

 

Where do we find God but in the center of things?

 

 

His brightness and glory defy all description so

 

 

I Try in my epic to find ways I can signify my belief,

 

 

Words understood as truth be told by me roughly,

 

 

Drifting words common as dirt & sand gleaming

 

 

As jewels of intention & sincere prayer of a child

 

 

Reciting what he does not know but knows he'll

 

 

Understand for his father tells him so & one day

 

 

Say exactly what's on his mind in grown-up talk.

 

 

In the meantime so far removed am I from Adam

 

 

Who conversed with his Maker words understood,

 

 

I must merely signal I am a poet who is longing

 

 

To reply to the vast starry sky like a meteor signs

 

 

Off in flame its name known only in a quick line

 

 

Of living ether written like a match it scratches

 

 

In reply to the One & Only I am too & I am one

 

Of Thy sons like a wink in the eternal firmament

 

 

Acknowledging faith in Thee, Farther Star than I.

 

 

May I speak out of turn & say I believe my God

 

 

Knows my name & knows me more than I myself

 

 

So thus I feel free to babble my baby gurgle with

 

 

Faith I'm understood by One who knows me best,

 

 

Who delights in my trying to be like Him:  I know

 

 

This by means of Joseph who found for himself

 

 

His Father listens to what he has to say, that I too

 

Can be as brave as faith makes me, to live beyond

 

 

My means in words I invest, usury of given talents.

 

 

One more word here now about what I'm about

 

 

To say written in sand of sifting words thru my

 

 

Mind & hands as surely as a timeworn form of

 

 

Hourglass & say again all that's said more finely

 

 

Than I a million times over that I know I am Ron,

 

 

Trying to say in sand piling up in poems I believe

 

 

I know what is mine in a view of Joseph Smith Jr.

 

 

Whom I praise in words sifting through my soul

 

 

Like sand crystals of diamonds common as earth.

 

 

To undertake the impossible is always man's lot:

 

 

We find pride a glitch of personality that makes

 

 

Us more than we know, daring progeny of deity

 

 

& creation's signature, hope against hope we are

 

 

Heard in a star-filled night crying for a moment,

 

 

Father, find us, we are here, thy sons & daughters

 

 

Who love thee as part of Thy creation stand among

 

 

The far stars singing thy name in heaven's rhyme

 

 

The music of the spheres in a solar burst of song.

 

 

White bark of silver birch reflecting sun's rays:

 

 

Gleaming pillar of light descending on Joseph

 

 

Beyond my description so may I speak out of turn

 

 

Again in my demeanor of hyperbole: argent blaze

 

Of Heavenly Father's presence, alabaster tones of

 

 

Niveal chimes, calcimine shining reverberations,

 

 

Winnowing canescence of incessant April snow... 

 

Alas, I've proved Joseph's point. Try it yourself.

 

 

We break the back of Google to find descriptions.

 

 

I long to multiply my praise by breeding adjectives.

 

 

Joseph was not the first to catch this discrepancy

 

 

Between sincere worship and megalomaniacal gush.

 

 

I need only look inside myself to find the source of

 

 

Apostasy: we need more than a grove of beatitude.

 

 

We need flares & timpani drums amidst the shrubs,

 

 

We need a morsel more than we can readily digest.

 

 

We need a reminder we are above the animal breed.

 

 

We need to comply with pride and call it worship.

 

 

I've seen cathedrals of Europe and giant spires,

 

 

I've known men more religious than I to swear.

 

 

I've seen myself at night and listened to me cry.

 

 

I've heard myself proved wrong with certainty.

 

 

I've called upon I knew not what & capitulated.

 

 

I've seen a solemn grieving crowd stifle a snicker.

 

 

I've learned more than I should have what sin is.

 

 

I've breathed a sigh it wasn't my turn yet to die.

 

 

I've gracefully juggled crystal spoons I dropped.

 

 

Having proved I'm flawed as any, can I now say

 

 

Without fear of justification that I see clearly in

 

 

A glass sanded smooth as a rough stone rolling,

 

 

Beatitude in a sacred grove the morning Joseph

 

 

Prayed aloud for the first time in his young life,

 

 

That his mortal aim from that moment on flayed

 

 

False exaggerations of men striving on toward

 

 

Perfection yet not knowing how, who deserted

 

 

The field to a graveyard yearning for more life.

 

 

A sense of sudden warmth sends a chill of relief

 

 

Down Joseph's spine as if he's at home forever,

 

 

His father's & mother's arms tight around him.

 

 

He blinks as the black vanishes from the grove.

 

 

His eyelids feel like cracks in two crystal eggs,

 

 

Hidden baubles of Easter surprise & laughter,

 

 

With the rays of risen sun igniting the world,

 

 

Or a flash of brightness inside the bright flare

 

 

At a July 4 picnic, friends & family all around.

 

 

Long shadows cast into hills & hollows glow

 

 

Molten white, a sense of love in a spoon of milk

 

 

When you're sick & mother feeds you tenderly;

 

 

Father straightens a lick of hair from your fore-

 

 

head and places his palms tenderly upon you to

 

 

Bless your place in life as being his beloved son.

 

 

So it was with Joseph as he cleared his eyes and

 

 

Glanced upward toward two figures standing in

 

 

The air lightly poised on tiny points of morning.

 

 

Of what is the substance of God for no man knows

 

 

& lives if he sees unrighteously nor I by my words,

 

 

My epic reaching past my grasp as if ice crystals

 

 

Formed briefly in patterns of infinity a sight that

 

 

Joseph beheld; familiar figures; two of whom he

 

 

Saw as men wrapped in gleams of sharp sunlight

 

 

Reflecting all at once the stars in heaven wearing

 

 

Robes of moonglow & flowing rhythm & even sun

 

 

Unbeknown of teeming rays & flares outbursting.

 

 

Could he be seeing real personages he recognized?

 

 

For they wore bright white singular robes in sheets

 

 

Of deep flame erupting all in a glance an unknown

 

 

Brightness from inside of Joseph's eyes as if centers

 

 

Of creation took on lights of clear streams in spring,

 

 

The kind Joseph loved to fish for flashes leaping in

 

 

Rippling rivers of intelligence made seeable in real

 

 

Seeming & tangible being, actual bodies shining in

 

 

Starbursts of crystal ice visible as warm sunshine.

 

 

Infinite complexity made seeable & simple to Joseph,

 

 

A sense that somehow he knew them before this time

 

 

Like a close companion's face seen briefly in a crowd,

 

 

A flash of knowing the familiar bright eyes glancing

 

 

His way after long absence & a quick recognition for

 

 

Another brief moment of sight resting on lives lived

 

 

Together in years of wending through days of loving,

 

 

This was the feeling wrapping around him dear clasp

 

Of delicate memory like a child knows his family first.

 

 

I like to think these were his fleeting thoughts:

 

 

Joseph sees 2 forms forming in gleaming robes,

 

 

He begins to perceive two persons being real

 

 

As crystals creating inexplicably shattering bits

 

 

& shapes & blending each into each like spring

 

 

Takes winter snow & melts it into rocky edges &

 

 

Flowing forms of silver & green growth peeking

 

 

Through starkness of winter forced to release its

 

 

Grip yet clutching its last freeze in spots melting.

 

 

Does Joseph identify a double sight as a dream?

 

 

Forms forming more forms alight in inner glow.

 

 

Glowing figures forming a glory between them

 

 

As alike as father & son in a family resemblance

 

 

In the air above him as if two impending clouds

 

 

Seen before on northern shores rumble forward,

 

 

As if separate parts of the same person emerging,

 

 

As if facing mirrors facing mirrors facing Joseph,

 

 

As if he between can see unending time & eternity.

 

 

I've indicated what I think & believe Joseph saw,

 

 

Yet brittle connections fall apart in man's speech.

 

 

I fend off temptation to dazzle myself & others

 

 

With brilliant insights & words of praise I value;

 

 

Can I be humble & proud in the same breath &

 

 

Yet in one move bow low & thus survive pride?

 

 

Can I say what I believe in words so beautified

 

 

I set Hamlet straight & call up Ophelia's father,

 

 

Polonius, to stutter iambics to camels in clouds?

 

 

As a rumbling echo low inside a deep well with

 

 

White marbled sides around a spacetime-borehole

 

 

Of infinite depth & quietude reverberating sound,

 

 

A voice he knew but had never heard before now,

 

 

Joseph, my son. This is My Beloved Son, Hear Him.

 

 

Had he heard his name so spoken as a son in the

 

 

Same breath as Son of Man, for who else could it

 

 

Be?  Had a stray breeze held a blasphemy at bay or

 

 

Had he heard an answer before a secret question?

 

 

Imagine Joseph hears his God in a rush of wind,

 

 

Hears shush of ashen sky impending doomtime,

 

 

Hears sunken rocks beneath a sheen of streams,

 

 

Hears caverns ring deep blue thru gleam of sky,

 

 

Hears waves of applause inside a marbled dome,

 

 

Hears ice-knives cutting thin cuneiform to slices,

 

 

Hears screams of incessant pleas of the innocent,

 

 

Hears nettles of light piercing brief thunderclaps,

 

 

Hears over din mingling pain & joy combining.

 

 

Who was he that he should be so addressed by God

 

 

As "son" in the same breath as Son of Man himself?

 

 

Who was Joseph to know what no man knew before

 

 

Or if known before forgotten in windings of under-

 

 

ground caves, stalactite ice, stalagmite mire, growing

 

 

Into mysterious towers, misunderstanding mankind,

 

 

Life beneath a brief life of a secret life in his mind,

 

 

Wondering what no man could know: Who am I?

 

Where did I come from? Where am I going now?

 

A dream in daytime he knew what was happening

 

Yet had no clue which way to go so now like a boy

 

 

Asking directions home from a strange town where

 

 

Somehow he had lost his way wandering from a far

 

 

Place he had almost forgotten but knew somehow

 

 

Where he had come from knowing he had been

 

 

 

Sent on an errand to find his family their heritage

 

 

As heir apparent in a maze of streets & paths with

 

 

Strange names & he knew he must ask directions.

 

 

They smiled down in solemn loving understanding

 

 

As he knew so well from his father when he & his

 

 

Brothers needed a nudge of guidance fearful they

 

 

Had stepped over the line but knew full well that

 

 

Their father knew them better than they themselves

 

 

So they weren't afraid {SUCH WAS JOSEPH'S RESPONSE}

 

 

Rubbing his eyes as if gunpowder flashed in visible

 

Halos rococo after-images radiating sublime rings

 

 

Around the Holy Faces he saw once in a painting.

 

 

{THESE HE SAW} were as no others he had ever seen:

 

 

In rain he had seen lights gleam in water & seem

 

 

A part of a shining surface in little laps rippling

 

 

Waves aloud in the least whispers fresh renewing

 

 

Glimmers, or of promises of full crops to come in

 

 

Dark fields outlying his father's fertile farmland.

 

 

He could see two handsome faces of noble persons

 

 

Heretofore only imagined as his mother read to him

 

 

Stories of shining princes and kingdoms unending.

 

 

Yet these faces were more than real, more familiar

 

 

Than he ever knew of men imagined or remembered,

 

 

Real men he met and knew of in tangible forms of

 

 

Flesh & bone, like himself, for they had spoken to him

 

 

As now he heard these figures before him speaking,

 

 

Like silent lightning hung inside a roiling, majestic

 

 

Cloud of light, with yet a deep thunder-clap of love

 

 

To come, as though an enlightened cloud containing

 

 

This lightning strike had yet to thunder gloriously.

 

 

Dared he speak? would he be struck? as a standing oak

 

 

Might be, alone in a coming storm, as he had seen one

 

 

Riven once with glory, cracked to shreds & sticks, yet

 

 

This was why he was here, why he came to the grove

 

 

Alone, to ask his Father a question his father would

 

 

Answer--gathering all his courage, he spoke up as he

 

Always did when confronted with unsettled questions

 

 

In his quest of faith & belief, longing for an answer to

 

 

Come, somehow, from the Powers before him in light.

 

 

Joseph got hold of himself enough to know one thing:

 

 

That he had stirred up a storm of glory in his grove!

 

 

Hoping not to stutter or shame himself with doubt,

 

 

He spoke aloud, maybe too loud, for a quiet moment:

 

 

Who's right? they all say different things! I just can't

 

 

Understand them because they're all talking at once!

 

 

Who's got it wrong? 'cause I want to do what you

 

 

Want me to! Somebody's got to be right! They can't

 

 

All be right at the same time, can they? Who's right?

 

 

As a distant stroke of lightning followed by thunder

 

 

This glorious Person sounded aloud one low word:

 

 

                         NONE

 

 

Then Joseph heard words remembered henceforward:

 

 

they draw near to me with their lips

 

but their hearts are far from me they

 

teach for doctrines the commandments

 

 

of men having a form of godliness

 

 

but they deny the power thereof

 

 

So far he had wondered his question only to himself;

 

 

How could this person know his very heart's core?

 

 

His puzzlement which church or which exact sect

 

 

To join, there were so many of them & all of them as

 

 

Great as he was obscure; grand titles of Christendom

 

 

Ringing ringing bells repeating low tones "Lo, here!"

 

 

(across vast religious landscapes of Christ) "Lo, there!"

 

 

Methodist, Presbyterian, Baptist, Catholic, Unitarian,

 

 

(not to say) hell-bent private preachers preaching!

 

This desperation born of black despair thrust on him

 

 

Just moments before, this quizzical fear like cracking

 

 

Ice beneath his feet, his eyesight glazed with rending

 

 

Streaks & flashing lights, hideous, dizzying indecision,

 

 

All this frenzy of his soul which brought him here to

 

 

His grove, fraught with doubt and impending doom,

 

 

Turned suddenly calm as spots of cool fern growing.

 

 

Suddenly all this panic building in his mind vanished:

 

 

He could see who stood there in silver golden green.

 

 

Double in glory they shone, two beams down upon

 

His grove with gentle greenery all about them pure

 

 

& undisturbed, no ruffled glare, shadows flickering,

 

 

Dark tongues compounded yellow & licking wood,

 

 

No evergreen fire or night-flaming earthly sparks

 

  

{nor moon nor stars melt white on leaves of birch}

 

 

Noonday sun never shone as bright as these lights

 

 

Shining more brightly than fire ever seen by man:

 

 

BLUE  GLIMMERING

 FLAME  IN  ICY 

DAYTIME 

NIGHTLIGHT

 

 ~blue glimmering 

       flame in icy 

          daytime

        nightlight~

 

 

Miraculous it seemed to him & miraculous it was:

 

 

Had he known beforehand his query would fetch up

 

 

Pure fire like this, he might have stayed home afraid,

 

 

Never knowing what lay behind careening screens

 

 

Of just plain things he knew in every day busy plod,

 

 

Hard toil with his two rough hands twisting a living

 

 

From land, portraits not yet painted by ax and spade,

 

 

Dreams cut out of dirt, precise furrows & farmland

 

 

Venturing far as heaven beyond morning sunshine.

 

 

 BOOK TWO

 

JOSEPH

 

 

 

   IN MEDIAS RES

 

 

Outside a rancid little box of a cramped jailhouse

 

 

Shine tiny diamonds on trees {last night's stars}

 

 

Renewing glistening hope {dawn brings to men}

 

 

A dew of early sunrise {finely sprayed on leaves}.

 

 

Six men lie in a stupid state, torpid as dead wood.

 

 

{LISTLESS INACTIVITY} grieving God buried them in

 

 

A rock box {even oaks outside whisper taunts}

 

 

Liberty Jail, a name inscribed as cruel paradox,

 

 

Conceived by a mind more cunning than men.

 

 

Too long held against their will, guilty of no crime,

 

 

Confined in a room at most fourteen by fourteen,

 

 

Surrounded by walls four feet thick, two grated

 

 

Iron windows giving no relief of sky or clean air,

 

 

Sleeping sporadically on dirty straw, a dirt floor,

 

 

Seldom digesting food "not fit for man or beast."

 

 

Stricken with stomach cramps and vomiting up

 

 

Wretched meals they suspect probably poisoned,

 

 

Six Mormon men stew inside desolate isolation.

 

 

'Nuther day, says Alexander McRae, 6-foot-6.

 

 

Hear them mockin' birds? says Caleb Baldwin.

 

 

Sidney Rigdon sits in silence, propped by Joseph

 

 

Solid as a beam or backbrace, one hewn of oak.

 

 

Silent for a minute more, Hyrum breaks silence.

 

 

Them fools act like we're weird as sea hogs or

 

 

Some monstrous whale or sea serpents hissin'.

 

 

Joseph manages a grin & says to Lyman Wight

 

 

Recall what happened to Jonah? He got out.

 

 

Caleb mumbles, Didn't git out just all by hisself,

 

 

{ALL ARE SILENT IN THE SOILED AIR.} God let him out.

 

 

{AS IF CONVERSING WITH HIMSELF INSTEAD OF THE OTHERS}

 

 

I don't think that might happen to us anyways.

 

 

{CALEB CONCLUDES WITH ONE LAST WORD} We're cooked.

 

 

Joseph flinches {HIS FAULT PERSONAL THEY ARE HERE}

 

 

A blackness comes back he's felt before as back

 

 

In the grove such despair came out of nowhere.

 

 

He must pray Lucifer away {WITH ALL HIS MIGHT}.

 

 

Joseph's companions wait upon his next word,

 

 

Huddled {TWISTED LIKE FISTS INTO GANGLIONIC KNOTS}

 

 

Feeling they didn't have this coming to them,

 

 

Furious with resentment & unfair frustration.

 

 

If it was just Joseph and not God they obeyed,

 

 

Then all bets were off & apostasy'd be the key

 

 

To settin' them free of oppression and pain!

 

 

All them covenants so severely and solemnly

 

 

Set on them would shuffle off their shoulders!

 

 

He, who lived true each day since his Vision,

 

 

Sensed something very spiritually wrong here.

 

 

The Holy Ghost must have made a get-away

 

 

From fierce attitudes filling a roomful of men!

 

It would make impossible his righteous pleas

 

 

For succor & aid in this hell-hole of oblivion.

 

 

He & his brethren moiled in their own sweat:

 

Dense shadows, damp across this emptiness;

 

 

Despair, tangible as a smell of unholy death.

 

 

As so many times before he'd hoick up Spirit

 

For himself & those whose eyes followed him

 

 

Daily into realms of light his Father shown in

 

 

Their eyes, fixed not upon his person but upon

 

 

Righteousness, God-light flowing thru his soul,

 

 

Daylight of daily living, daily toil, daily hope,

 

 

Become tangible in the words even he knew

 

 

Not of before he spoke them, revelations in

 

 

Streams of continual surprise, new knowing.

 

 

Joseph speaks: Brethren, the size of our affliction

 

 

Swells the size of our prison all out of proportion.

 

 

{HIS FELLOWS HUSH IMMEDIATELY}  Quiet for a moment

 

 

In the smell-bound silence hanging miasma-like 

 

 

Around them, Joseph goes on to speak his piece:

 

 

We are chastened. We are tried even as Abraham.

 

 

Would we have struck Isaac dead as a sacrifice?

 

 

Hyrum? Lyman? Sydney? Alex? You, Caleb?

 

 

Would you strike down your son like a sheep?

 

 

Don't reckon I would, says Caleb. 'lest it was God

 

Hisself asked. Wouldn't do it for no man no how.

 

 

Nor I, echoes Sydney Rigden. I'd have to know.

  

 

Me, too, says Hyrum. I'd have to know for sure.

 

How 'bout you? says Joseph to Alexander McRae.

 

 

A man ain't God! snaps Caleb Baldwin. Not ever.

 

 

You think I'm God? says Joseph quietly. I ain't.

 

 

Never said I was.  But I'll tell you one thing: I'd

 

Do whatever He asked me to, no matter what.

 

 

Alex, shifting his long legs to ease deep ache:

 

Even if you knew he wasn't gonna stop you?

 

 

Joseph almost shouts, Abraham didn't know that!

 

 

All he knew was God told him "you kill your boy!"

 

 

They held their breath, knew what was coming.

 

 

Joseph begins to speak his mind, softly, intensly:

 

 

Seems to me that man was meant to have grief

 

 

In his days if he be saved in the world to come.

 

 

Gathering strength, Joseph speaks a revelation:

 

 

if thou be cast into the deep if the billowing surge

 

conspire against thee if fierce winds become thine

 

 

enemy if the heavens gather blackness and all the

 

 

elements combine to hedge up the way & above all

 

 

if the very jaws of hell shall gape open her mouth

 

 

wide after thee know thou my son that all these things

 

 

shall give thee experience and shall be for thy good

 

{JOSEPH PAUSES}  the son of man hath descended below

 

 

them all--art thou greater than he?--endure it well

 

 

Hope I can remember what God said, says Sydney.

 

 

Joseph smiles, cheered up by his new revelation.

 

 

Keep a pencil handy, says Hyrum. I do, dang it!

 

 

Sydney snaps, but I got no writin' paper on me.

 

Use this, says Hyrum, handing him an old letter.

 

 

But it's from your mama, says Sydney. scrawling.

 

 

Joseph glances at Hyrum. Write between the lines.

 

 

Hyrum grins at his brother, knows what he means.

 

 

Shall I repeat it, Sydney?--No! I heard every word!

 

 

Picked as guards, four Carthage Grays stumble in.

 

 

They're boozing & laughing it up. One scratches his

 

 

Crotch, another spits into the cage--Whatcha doin'

 

There, Joe? Drawin' dirty pitchers? Lemme see that!

 

 

Sydney quickly crumples the letter into his pocket.

 

 

Hey, you got sumpin' in yer ears I just stepped in?

 

 

I said hand me that frikin' piece a paper pronto!

 

 

I'm gonna draw what a Mormon slut looks like!

 

 

His whiskery companions howl -- On 'er back!

 

 

They begin clapping, chanting lyrics calculated

 

 

To inflame the Mormon men beyond endurance.

 

 

Each guard takes turns in a vulgar square dance,

 

 

Singing a verse he seems to make up as he goes.

 

 

Oh I got a Mormon woman an' ain't she just fine,

 

 

Gotter on 'er back, don't she like what's mine!

 

 

Finally found a man she can trust maker happy,

 

 

My turn now but next comes my horny pappy!

 

 

They roll on the dirt floor, writhing & laughing.

 

 

Joseph slowly stands to his feet, fire in his eyes.

 

 

{HE SPEAKS LIKE THUNDER} Be silent, you fiends of hell!

 

I die or you die this very instant!  Be silent!

 

 

{HE RAISES HIS ARM IN THE SQUARE} I command you

 

In the name of Jesus Christ, cease your filth

 

 

Or God will strike you dead! -- In the fury of

 

 

Thine heart with thy sword avenge us our

 

 

wrongs & remember thy suffering saints oh

 

 

my God we shall rejoice in thy name forever.

 

 

Amen, say the men. {PAUSE}  Alex: They look to be

 

Corpses. Indeed, the guards weren't moving.

 

 

{A FEW GROANS FROM THE TANGLED CADAVERS}

 

 

Joseph peers down at them & says to the others

 

 

I wouldn't be them for all the gold of Riplakish.

 

 

Unless they repent, their souls be hell-damned.

 

 

Joseph claps his hands as if awakening the dead.

 

 

They stir & groan, four drunks with hangovers.

 

 

One by one they stumble out a grated iron door.

 

 

Did ya kill 'em Joseph? Is that what happened?

 

 

Joseph: You think I raised them from the dead?

 

Well, no, but I seen you do stupendous stuff!

 

 

Joseph: Heavenly Father does His own miracles,

 

Not I. Those poor throwaways did it to them-

 

 

selves. I called down upon them the weight

 

 

Of their conscience; they couldn't stand to

 

 

See themselves as God sees them. Hyrum:

 

How is that? Joseph: He sees them soulfully.

 

 

Once again Joseph had spoken the voice of God.

 

 

Familiar as close friends, the men in the room

 

 

Were sure they knew his mind, yet time after

 

 

Time he surprised them with unforeseen turns.

 

 

He called God down upon the vile guards, who,

 

 

Stunned to incomprehension, fell into silence.

 

 

Dazed, they lay in a flaccid knot of arms & legs,

 

 

Their square-dancing mockery & mime of lust

 

 

Turned against them in a groggy death-struggle.

 

 

CANTO 1

 

 

We think in terms of eternity while still on earth,

 

 

Brief years of life being as one breath then ceasing.

 

 

As if by surprise we end:  we don't want to know we

 

 

End up dead for keeps:  thus Joseph knew mortality.

 

 

We all perceive this, yet he brought us knowledge

 

 

From God straight & exact, intervened by no man.

 

 

Our first hunch is right: we shall never die forever.

 

 

We were designed for death in this life only & we

 

 

Live without end in a world we're wending toward.

 

 

His keen mind cut thru his years like a fired blade,

 

 

Revealing our real life as endless-being-lightning.

 

 

As Joseph obeyed his earth-bound father full of

 

 

Flaws so he sought an all-knowing Father with

 

 

No flaw, found him thru faith at home on earth;

 

 

Joseph revealed our true situation here as like

 

 

Radiating roots, life flashed into soil & still death,

 

 

Between sunlight & shade, joy in moving & fixity:

 

 

Day doomed to die like low sinking sun; life gone.

 

 

Moments lost only in imagination, minutes tick

 

 

Past the great stream moving in motion so deep

 

 

We do not comprehend unless told by our Father 

 

 

In flares of revelation, signaling the sure shores

 

 

We attain to: {heaven-haven's echo-bells & gems

 

strewn through centuries of searching for truth}

 

Scripture lost only in fog of apostasy & unreason.

 

 

Sure as man breathes his last in hope of reaching

 

 

Past the brief signals to shore toward lighted faith.

 

 

So Joseph apprehended our true condition of

 

 

Being without end and shared the light he knew,

 

 

Breaking dark death-clouds apart with lightning

 

 

Flashes of insights; thru Joseph the soul-clouded

 

 

Days & dark impending storms ignited fire, God

 

 

Revealing what we really are in lightning strikes

 

 

Caught alive & crackling like a flow of electric

 

 

Energy throughout the time of brief storms on

 

 

Earth; so Joseph suffers brief life of dark storms.

 

 

CANTO 2

 

 

Now Joseph pondered his years from center of light

 

 

He found that day to now, this heavy day about him,

 

 

A festering, stinking black hole of Liberty Jail, 1839,

 

 

{Remembered redoubtable days of trouble rumbling  

 

Days of thunder} Black days mocked eternal clear days

 

 

To come, our true condition of life unending at core

 

 

Of sun & so, Son of Man shone through the mind &

 

 

Soul of a boy at heart who only asked why in a grove

 

 

& told of God's glow on a clear day nineteen years ago.

 

 

{rambling thru his youth to this very now} deep inside

 

 

The prison of Liberty Jail, where all things flesh com-

 

 

bine to overcome the light he knew awaiting outside

 

 

In glints of sun on dew on trees like buzzing of bees

 

 

Inside his mind, instant flashes of light in revelations

 

 

Yet to come if only somehow he could overcome the

 

 

Minutes of earth-time devised for our comprehension,

 

 

An understanding toward exaltation, atoms of light

 

 

Swirling in his mind, each a bee-sting of knowledge.

 

 

If only he could endure to share more pure light

 

 

He knew from the moment of his first vision--if

 

 

Only he could hang on, be more the mirror of

 

 

Light he reflected in deadly storms of black fore-

 

 

boding, like this unending time in jail, he, a light-

 

 

ning rod attracting strikes, deepening opposition

 

 

From ONE who used all means of mockery of light,

 

 

False cracks in the sky, bright flashes, used not for

 

 

Illumination, but, in reality, desperate flares of evil.

 

 

Brimstone flash-ups set ablaze to frighten man into

 

 

Surrendering free choice to choose true light or to

 

 

Chase false signals seeming bright but burning men

 

 

To ashen apathies of ignorance, rejecting truth of

 

 

Christ for too-long-forlorn rages of Satan waging

 

 

Continual war upon the God Joseph loved, slicing

 

 

Hope in man any-way-he-can, wounding faithful

 

 

Saints with bright knives of intellectual superiority.

 

 

Joseph hunkered down that day with his fellows.

 

 

Black broiling tar ladled down upon these six men

 

 

As Joseph prayed silently in misery inflicted by evil-

 

 

doers upon them; he remembered his days of light

 

 

Leading him to this place, his memories laden with

 

 

Sharp blows & shocks of burning disappointment,

 

 

Yet leading back to Eternal Now of God his Father;

 

 

So he remembered these few days, split seconds of

 

 

Experience, it seemed, aimed at deeper knowledge

 

 

Each day of the days of man & why the wherefore.

 

 

As all men seek in their souls a flash of light inside

 

 

The soul inside the brief brief black cloud of each

 

 

Impending end to mortal life, revelation strikes in

 

 

His mind like lightning, he, an iron rod, his people

 

 

Safe inside the homes he planned, knew knowing

 

 

Light & pure light of Christ & he a lightning rod:

 

 

So Joseph pondered deep inside the black hole of

 

 

Liberty Jail, and these I say were his recollections,

 

 

Summing up his score of years near-twice-told-20.

 

 

Not even knowing he had less than five left to go,

 

 

His thirty-four years to a score plus nineteen {39}.

 

 

He labored to adduce a final score his God would

 

 

Charge upon his soul for the privilege of knowing

 

 

What God only knew heretofore in his revelations,

 

 

Knowledge that God revealed in strike after strike

 

 

Of lightning insights he'd never guess on his own.

 

 

Insights leading him & those who believed him to

 

 

Places never sought in plain daytime labor alone.

 

 

These, then, Joseph's days as he remembers them

 

 

(center-of-black-hole: Liberty Jail) -- seen as I see

 

 

Them 200 years later > like invisible images of the

 

 

Quantum we yet try to guess, I enlighten & verify

 

 

The miracle of Joseph Smith, the Prophet, as seen

 

 

Thru the light he caught like an iron rod deflecting

 

 

& reflecting lightning strikes (for his brothers and

 

Sisters)--singularity of a black hole in the cosmos,

 

 

Center of the rumbling storm: mortal life on earth.

 

 

CANTO 3

 

 

That man of God, why had he not believed

 

 

When Joseph spoke the simple truth of God?

 

 

New daytime light, seen in the grove that day

 

 

Beyond all known dawn it seemed--a priest,

 

 

A man of God, who preached his noisy rants,

 

 

Shouted repeatedly the quiet & lovely truths

 

 

Of a God who loved, who didn't shout at his

 

 

Children, but rather persuaded them gently,

 

 

Whispered undertones in new sun each day.

 

 

A puzzle never solved: why truth riles men;

 

 

Even by means of logic or steely reason, even

 

 

Then, those looks of less than amazement froze

 

 

Over their eyes, like an icy film misconstruing;

 

 

Worse, a glaze of not-knowing deemed death;

 

 

This took the light away from God-given sight,

 

 

Put in its place a dull resentment Joseph could

 

 

Not understand, why truth offends men, strikes

 

 

His neighbors sullen, to seek his blood like dogs.

 

 

It was upon his head to forgive them as Christ

 

 

Had forgiven each blow received upon iniquity,

 

 

Had given in return no less than God expected,

 

 

Love unfeigned & charity inside a broken heart,

 

 

These a response to blows delivered punctually,

 

 

Right at the moment of witnessing Christ alone,

 

 

Striving to stir their hearts with soft answering

 

 

Rage, with forgiveness traded for vile contempt;

 

 

It seemed betimes fury for fire of his testimony.

 

 

I hope for the best always in all circumstances,

 

 

Joseph said, although I go unto death. {He was

 

 

Tormented by a toothache lingering at Liberty,

 

 

Almost gone, dull as death of a new born son,

 

 

Remaining pain in the roots of his mind & soul}.

 

 

He knew better than to mourn alone and long

 

 

For he knew the end would be bright morning

 

 

Upon the hills of heaven and waiting for him

 

 

His family and friends singing a new risen sun}

 

 

As in afterimages Joseph's eyes adjusted back

 

 

To daily reality, but inner sight could never see

 

 

His days again more before than after for bright

 

 

Lights flashing inside revelation after revelation

 

 

Clear but bursting with blinding overviews 

 

 

First beholding the Lord in Light; then a Double

 

 

Starburst-forgiveness by Father&Son;

 

 

His First Vision--purely remembered--solidified.

 

 

As molten steel from iron ore & all conditions

 

 

Thereof to man from antiquity until tomorrow,

 

 

Joseph's version formed in phases of vision

 

 

From first burst of light to a testimony of steel

 

 

Tempered in the furnace of experience & time:

 

 

{I use as metaphor steel rendered out of iron

 

 

& its carbon constituents to a stainless version

 

 

compounded by repeated visits of pure light}

 

 

Forged in fire, Moroni came to him by night.

 

 

For fear I misspeak terms of malleable rendition

 

 

Let me be clear: like as we speak our car-crash

 

 

As if it were now, reformed in our shaken brain

 

 

Clearly as aftershock, an earthquake's expansion,

 

 

Time-in-a-line- of-instant-blur, nullifying pain

 

 

To speak ourselves words that cannot be spoken,

 

 

Explaining sheer fire at the core of experience

 

 

As if it were casually explainable: so we explain

 

 

Our inmost core in terms we try to understand.

 

 

Poet, priest, pastor, prophet, Joseph, all these.

 

 

Had you met God could you define inexplicable

 

 

Fiery moments as Joseph did in clear language?

 

 

Or would you like me stumble around in words

 

 

Chosen not for clarification & sharp resonance

 

 

But as clanging pastors Joseph was warned of?

 

 

Mormon Epic may be my metaphor (allegory)

 

 

For speaking what cannot be spoken, but Joseph's

 

 

Words, every single time, resonate with truth.

 

 

I insert an apologia here for reasons known

 

 

To all who accuse the prophet of telling lies &

 

 

Never turn a mirror of such accusation upon

 

 

Their own tendency to mendacity. 

 

 

I always try to clarify my I;

 

 

I look back upon my image in a mirror of me

 

 

When I say there but for the grace of God am

 

 

I telling lies to myself & seeing lies otherwise

 

 

In others, never searching my own soul for a

 

 

Hint of what God sees in me: my known mind.

 

 

Tired of the lies of others, Joseph sought to see

 

 

In himself where the truth of words past words

 

 

Would lead & found the most direct explanation

 

 

Would expand beyond eternity but equivocation

 

 

Would shrink his soul to a ball of powdered shot

 

 

Fired at others who would-not-could-not under-

 

 

stand the plan God had in mind: so with patience

 

 

He explained the day he saw sun firing his heart, 

 

 

Blazing center of God Almighty & Beloved Son.

 

 

Was it a lie to frame in everyday words the center

 

 

Of the blazing sun like a bullet-hole in his soul fired point-

 

 

blank to his heart with words he heard God say?

 

 

His first explanation to the frowning pastor bore

 

 

Straight through the man's mind and tore it loose

 

 

From reason or kind reply; then neighbors boiled

 

 

Over with hate & resentment when he said he saw

 

 

Celestial fire more bright than sunshine that day.

 

 

Where else would he go but to a heartfelt Father?

 

 

Contradictions explain our lives better than lies,

 

 

For lives are made of contradiction beginning at

 

 

Birth when we emerge as bloody surprise to eyes

 

 

Ready for love, when we explain ourselves away

 

 

In cries never heard before, when oft-told tales

 

 

Wail our wonderment to the skies & bid goodbye

 

 

To God from whence we came, when we spend

 

 

The days thereafter revealing in ourselves others

 

 

Wonderment we ever were & why it happened.

 

 

Latter-day Saints sound stupid to clever grifters,

 

 

Scheming villains & unresponsive perdition-

 

 

Lovers of lust & every form of bestial filth,

 

 

Only because the Adversary himself will fill

 

 

Their eyes brimful of arrogance spilling over

 

 

& posing as high intelligence too fine to find

 

 

Flaws in themselves, for looking too closely

 

 

Inward would reward them only with dead

 

 

Residues of past sins past forgiveness of faith.

 

 

Could Marx foresee a U.S. Communist President, 

 

 

Had Darwin's dream awakened Earth-God-Gaia,      

 

 

Could Joseph have seen the Gospel blossom as

 

 

The rose (he does) among men round the world,

 

 

Which of these 3 would have rejoiced the most?

 

 

Each a part of pre-existent spirits aware of faith,

 

 

Each a prophet to generations of deep believing,

 

 

Even as adherents of each strive to win old wars

 

 

Begun in Heaven before the world was founded.

 

 

Jailbirds rattle chains like beaks cankered black.

 

 

Found dead at the bottom of the well of Liberty,

 

 

Nails in wood like rusty nerves of dying Christ,

 

 

Dank stench of betrayal hanging in rancid mist,

 

 

Factual despair as sheets of perjured warrants

 

 

Lying like offal in ledgers of lying law-makers. 

 

 

Do I hyperbolize a scene?  Not if you were there

 

 

Alone among friends lost to a grievous lie; not if

 

 

I were there grieving freedom lost in folds of un-

 

 

bending time broken as soiled bread, dirty water,

 

 

Served by Satan to remind a Prophet who he was!

 

 

Mormon meat's a treat, jeered one excited jailer,

 

 

Knowing full well the prisoners would never eat

 

 

Beelzebub's favorite snack, human flesh cooked

 

 

Poorly enough to recognize & smell as a brother

 

 

Or sister in Christ but not quite knowing for sure.

 

 

Refusing essential sustenance to save them daily,

 

 

They looked to Joseph for reassurance of truth

 

 

Even in a meal prepared by filthy fingers to kill

 

 

Appetites; if Joseph ate it so did they; if not, not.

 

 

CANTO 4

 

 

Unimaginable to normal Mormon men hatred

 

 

Toward them in vile words dipped in venom,

 

 

Guards growl blasphemous God-oaths gnash

 

 

At threads of faith they cling to the darkness,

 

 

Persist in perverse anti-Christ, fanged to cut,

 

 

As if a world rested on Joseph, a solitary man.

 

 

Why such opposition to one they deem as

 

 

Insane at best, villainous at worst, as threat

 

 

From light is quelled in blackened Liberty?

 

 

Backstory begins at point of departure: Liberty.

 

 

A prophet roiling inside his own life created 

 

 

By God for man, that through him Restoration

 

 

Of all lost in sin-deadened lives lived by men.

 

 

{Man made mean to man}  the Christ-defiant

 

 

Salvoes of wrong rending rules made for men.

 

 

Why should this weight be laid upon one curious

 

 

Boy seeking true answers to insoluble impasse,

 

 

Be denied dead-end as death inside of Liberty?

 

 

Brought about by a bank of streaming flashes

 

 

Set like a living solarium on the Susquehanna

 

 

The day he and Oliver, stymied in wondering,

 

 

Prayed aloud the why of John the Baptist's life,

 

 

Whether dead or alive long after he departed

 

 

Finding John the angel coming down in glory

 

 

Conferring them both w/ Priesthood of Aaron.

 

 

Paradigm bright as a star bursting upon dark,

 

 

Had he destined himself & others to oblivion?

 

 

Had he stirred up satanic hostility so severe it

 

 

Threatened lives of those who came to Christ

 

 

Through a new way so old it became original?

 

 

Untainted by men alone without Holy Ghost

 

 

Guiding through fog of indecision & counter

 

 

Conflicts dug up by the Adversary to defeat any

 

 

Hint of opposition to his evil entanglements

 

 

Of men without God, without a hope of Joy.

 

 

If so he stood responsible for lives lost fighting

 

 

Lucifer on all fronts, for casting purity into eyes

 

 

blazing hate handfuls of Christ's diamond-dust,

 

 

For steadfast days of faith unalterable as the sun

 

 

Rising each day & burning the sky to brightness

 

 

Beyond this black hole of Liberty Jail where like

 

 

Paul he stood his ground & brought his friends

 

 

To glorious lives beyond brief days of adversity,

 

 

As his fateful Vision cast them toward heaven.

 

 

Had he known what would happen that day in

 

 

The grove, would he have turned and run back

 

 

Home unenlightened to secure life unchastened?

 

 

Could he have known how it would be this day

 

 

In a dank dungeon lighting fire like unto Paul?

 

 

Had he been less knowing {total truth in Christ}

 

 

God telling him each day what to say revealed

 

 

For the choice he made to listen & readily obey,

 

 

Would he still be where no light shone but God's?

 

 

Joseph's only doubt lodged deep in his heart

 

 

As if a swallowed lump of grief in his throat,

 

 

For he had intended only good to his fellows,

 

 

Not a destiny of taking blows for doing good,

 

 

Not a lash of reproof at every turn for seeing

 

 

Truths in a deep sea of belief like dolphins of

 

 

Gleaming clarity beaming in clicks and songs

 

 

Their love of God like his own, signals sent

 

 

Invisibly in revelations portending eternity.

 

 

Could Joseph have seen how he'd conclude

 

 

In a blaze of pistols drilling through the door,

 

 

His brother slain and he alone at the window,

 

 

Translucent time shattering shards of glass, 

 

 

Would he have known God alone consigned

 

 

His companions to glory, a God who knows?

 

 

Now we may know how he was seen by God;

 

 

Now we see the Vision pronounced clearly;

 

 

Now we hear the rank & sum of Joseph's life.

 

 

He who wondered aloud without doubting,

 

 

His faith set in stone that day in the grove,

 

 

If good will ended in emerald green grown

 

 

Over graves--friended & defended--those

 

Whose eyes were lidded now deep in earth

 

 

Would wink awake & rise as dawn inside,

 

 

Would sing along no more alone than he,

 

 

Would weld in circles of prayer their hands

 

 

Like golden keys to open unending sunrise.

 

 

That alone would keep at bay the shadow

 

 

Sliding down along the wall toward him,

 

 

What he had done to bring on calamity

 

 

God told him was God's alone to grieve.

 

 

He'd done exactly as expected in a blaze

 

 

Shining daily in his mind: mind-shining

 

 

Moments never labored into momentum,

 

 

Clear dawn each day deemed revelation

 

 

Bright alive as wind chimes ringing light.

 

 

CANTO 5

 

 

Seize a sky of cloud-forms to see our souls'

 

 

Days more actual than dust; see our days be-

 

 

coming real in belief in Christ. Carried along

 

 

On waves of faith, Joseph set his sights on a

 

 

Belief-locked distance known only by those

 

 

Who see beyond sea-shores of here&now

 

 

Washing days away w/ each wave grasping 

 

 

Handfuls of sand like casting diamond-dust

 

 

Upward in prayer: vapor become substance. 

 

 

Joseph hunkered in Liberty Jail for a season, 

 

 

Asking remission for youthful sins; confused

 

 

By stupid stumblings {as if dazed by sunlight}

 

 

To reawaken all that occurred to very now,

 

 

Aiming toward heknewnotwhat tomorrow,

 

 

Joseph believed a deep black hole enclosing

 

 

His followers to be not an intended dead-end

 

 

But means of remembering all that occurred

 

 

Since glorious Vision gleaming in the grove.

 

 

He remembered his family crowded together: 

 

 

One small room, beloved other selves among

 

 

Warm- breathing-inward-love & sleep-ease

 

 

Of snores among those folds of flesh his own.

 

 

He had barely begun his prayer when a light

 

 

Not unlike his first vision {quite solitary now}

 

 

One man in loose robes {like wings folded}

 

 

Rose out of the night {floating glowing light}

 

 

Risen in the room {as a white daytime moon}

 

 

Abiding sleeping sound in a silent dream-like 

 

 

Dark, a shiver of recognition shone throughout

 

 

The room, unseen by anyone but Joseph alone;

 

 

How his family did not wake he could not tell.

 

 

The figure in flame grew sharper in silhouette,

 

 

Hovering over the floor by his bedside, as if air

 

 

Itself were tangible as a water pond suspended,

 

 

The man floating readily in light gently above

 

 

The floor, a person of air&flame&fleshly form.

 

 

He seemed sheer fire white as molten steel:

 

 

Joseph held his breath as if held under water.

 

 

He could hear the man speak into his soul as

 

 

Silence filled the room of his sleeping family,

 

 

A small log cabin cradled cathedral sanctity.

 

 

I am Moroni,, sent from the presence of God.

 

 

He hardly dared understand the holy words

 

 

Given to him as again he was called by name,

 

 

A name to be known for good & evil by men.

 

 

As Joseph had a way of unlocking the godhood

 

 

In each of those he knew, so he had first to find

 

 

His own in Liberty Jail: He sought inside to find

 

 

Again the rush of virtue which first raised him.

 

 

Prayer crackled like an electrical charge inside,

 

 

Christ-current keeping faith alive as if a sacred

 

 

Flywheel-ever-turning- strong-burning-bosom

 

 

Keeping his forward momentum moving even

 

 

Through discontented days & dead-leaden cold.

 

 

Memories flew through his mind like pellets

 

 

Of fired iron blazing his past apart to revivify

 

 

His soul seeking answers; where other men 

 

 

Needed to give up to assuage pain and invite

 

 

Defeat, Joseph somehow had it in him to see

 

 

The FATHER-side in God's children first --to 

 

 

Work on from there to long awaited forever:

 

 

The now Joseph knew as Exaltation nurtured 

 

 

Seeds in rain & loam of faith into eternal life.

 

 

Moroni was indeed a man in form: his breast

 

 

Could be seen between the folds of his robe,

 

 

And his bare feet as steadfast as Joseph's own

 

 

Held him there in the air beside the bedstead.

 

 

The wonder awakened in Joseph endured 

 

 

As testimony securely locked in his heart.

 

 

More than a dream made real but a real man

 

 

Spoke in words he heard as echoes down his

 

 

Soul like a sound reverberating a deep well.

 

 

A second time he awakened not falling asleep

 

 

Yet not sure he was awake or asleep as before,

 

 

Frozen flame appeared a third time {icy robes

 

 

As before} the man saying again words almost

 

 

Understood & Joseph knew in noontimeclarity

 

 

Crackling their intent as shooting falling stars 

 

 

Pierce a black night with gleaming pinholes

 

 

Multitudinous beyond reckoning & brightly

 

 

Stitched by silver needles sharp in his mind.

 

 

Next day awake at work Joseph told his father 

 

 

Who could see the truth & sent Joseph home.

 

 

As if the sun imploded in upon itself a vision

 

 

He fell dizzily by a fence as Moroni told him

 

 

By holy rote a 4th time to his mortal mind:

 

 

Messages in a golden book inside a hill near-

 

 

by forgotten by men who endlessly battled. 

 

 

Moroni had buried their bloody history of

 

 

Conflictings-w/-God in the final olden days.

 

 

As a lantern casting shadows of sacred fire

 

 

Joseph's mind glowed in holy words spoken

 

 

Repeatedly & shone until he knew no doubt

 

 

They were etched upon his soul into a livid

 

 

Memory he carried to the very hour he died,

 

 

His testimony imprinted into his blood like

 

 

Bullets fired point blank into his breast for-

 

 

ever realizing the holy words of Moroni,

 

 

Who gave him a task to do for God&man.

 

 

The hill looked exactly as Moroni had shown:

 

 

Who could know what treasures lay inside?

 

 

For a time he had joined in seeking wealth

 

 

Like his neighbors daydreamed opulence,

 

 

Digging about as wishful children hoping,

 

 

Joseph imagined abandoned amphora jars,

 

 

Jewels, silver chalices brimming with gold,

 

 

Rare coins, carved brass & magic canisters,

 

 

All the lost phantoms of ancient kingdoms.

 

 

We who live in a world devoid of mystery,

 

 

Where each leaf announces calculations,

 

 

Where the stuff of surprise grows dull &

 

 

Dimmed down to preconceptions & cans,

 

 

Potted plants die neglected & affirmation

 

 

Goes begging in a backyard of new trash,

 

 

We can hardly believe our eyes when sun

 

 

Blots out our neon wilderness & we see

 

 

Our sky die at dawn for no electric light.

 

 

Joseph then as seen thru now seems unreal,

 

 

His bright world of sparkling surprise &

 

 

Names known by the ages past betray us,

 

 

When the unlikelihood of fresh insight

 

 

Steals our wonder away and possibility

 

 

Withers, premonitions gasp for breath,

 

 

And revelations huddle in a corner, dis-

 

 

guarded and disregarded, while the lies

 

 

Of electric starbeams gleam TV screens.

 

 

These we believe for they are here&now,

 

 

The open possibility of things unexplained,

 

 

Of real heavens & mysteries inside of earth

 

 

Become impossible to explain in new reality,

 

 

A flash of lightning against the crystal cliffs

 

 

Of mystery strikes insight into the yet unex-

 

 

plained mud; hidden designs deep in roots,

 

 

Return to teach us our old implausibiltities:

 

 

Actual faith & belief wait for us to catch on.

 

 

So Joseph's wonder at buried magic coins

 

 

Seems to us unseemly & ignorant only if we

 

 

Ourselves have cut off wonderment & plod

 

 

Along unreal realities screening our minds,

 

 

Dealing each new moment death-blows hard

 

 

Against our precondition of disbelief & faith

 

 

Eludes like an airy deer darting thru leaves

 

 

Fleeing our reduction of God's wonderment

 

 

Buried beneath our feet, waiting for spring.

 

 

I tell a tale here of Hill Cumorah hiding golden

 

 

Plates Joseph told of {believing as he believed}:

 

 

The hill was real and Moroni told where it was,

 

 

Showed it to him plain as day in every detail:

 

 

When he went to it he knew exactly its shape,

 

 

Size and disposition: northern side steep with

 

 

An open pasture, south the illuminating trees,

 

 

And--most important--scattered trees west

 

 

Near the top where a stone covered the gold.

 

 

His ambition leaped in two directions at once:

 

 

Knowing the digging of earth's treasure led

 

 

Only back to its cold tomb in cold ground,

 

 

Poverty-driven  all his young life, he sought

 

 

Redemption of springing desire for money,

 

 

Held in check only by knowing real riches

 

 

Lay deep inside heart&mind {untold gold}

 

 

Veins of faith&belief running through him

 

 

Hidden to all but Knower of all & Joseph.

 

 

Nevertheless he wavered and thrust hands

 

 

Thrice deep into the dirt, his desire shining

 

 

Sharper than Moroni gleaning Joseph's fire.

 

 

Finding a makeshift lever of splintered oak

 

 

He pried away the stone box from its grave

 

 

As if he were raiding at last the locked door

 

 

Of esteem&fame &reward he had so desired.

 

 

Taking note of a boy's unfettered excitement

 

 

Moroni touched each fingertip with a spark.

 

 

As if snatching electric shocks from rock

 

 

Joseph winced his chagrin and hesitated,

 

 

Realizing his stinging fingertips pointed

 

 

Back to more than he wanted to know:

 

 

His eyes flickered quick understanding;

 

 

Secrets kept hidden from himself were

 

 

Charged upon this sacrosanct moment,

 

 

Letters inscribed upon deepest desires,

 

 

Heaven's truth revealed inside of earth.

 

 

Treasure he couldn't define or imagine lay

 

 

Under a top stone he had pried loose, a

 

 

Rock box composed of five stone sides--

 

 

Old golden plates unseen in centuries of

 

 

Muddy oblivion now opened before him

 

 

& two strange objects Moroni told him

 

 

Were Urim&Thummin {clear crystal-like

 

 

Smooth 3-cornered diamonds} & a dim

 

 

Glimmering breastplate trimmed in light.

 

 

Joseph's eyes glinted sharp sparks of usury,

 

 

Well understood by Moroni as man's lust.

 

 

The angel intervened in his emotion now,

 

 

Directing Joseph to return in four years,

 

 

Meantime to return yearly to meet again

 

 

Year by year until the time should arrive

 

 

To gain the plates for the Lord's purpose,

 

 

Learning in interim to defy his own will,

 

 

Obey a higher impulse of his life's work.

 

 

Such a command seemed doubly daunting

 

 

To Joseph who never knew purse&script

 

 

To see him thru days of loss and poverty,

 

 

To keep secrets as long as a stone's throw

 

 

From a hill filled with riches beyond gold,

 

 

Be respected in the world, to grow above

 

 

Low ways, yearning to earn high renown.

 

 

It seemed betimes more than he could bear,

 

 

Beyond his deepest desire to earn his way.

 

 

Moroni unveiled as fiery lantern slides

 

 

Scenes beyond Joseph's comprehension,

 

 

From sweet unfolding roses of whiteness

 

 

To sudden flashes of flesh full of maggots

 

 

Writhing from the mind of Lucifer's fury,

 

 

The insane welter of evil that is the Devil,

 

 

That fierce thrust of force to do as he does,

 

 

Enslave free minds of free men from roses

 

 

To perturbéd boils undying of death&pain.

 

 

These scenes of life&death shown to Joseph

 

 

Bore to his mind unflinching designs both

 

 

Good&evil never forgetting again his God

 

 

Who told him as did his dear elder brother

 

 

How not to be deceived by devilish patterns,

 

 

Misdirected enthusiasms, innocence twisted,

 

 

Ends not intended yet serving Satan's intent.

 

 

Alvin, stabbed by a quicksilver knife inside,

 

 

Told Joseph how to live&believe, then died.

 

 

Alvin said to Joseph on his deathbed, "Joseph,

 

Be a good boy, do everything in your power

 

 

to get that golden record and keep it safe."

 

 

As Joseph understood his elder brother, he

 

 

Understood Christ to be his elder brother,

 

 

Like Alvin, elder to an innermost believing,

 

 

Alas, Alvin~~taken sick with a bilious colic,

 

 

Crucified inside by a deadly compound of

 

 

Mercury/chlorine potion called calomel.

 

 

So Joseph fastened upon sweaty plights of

 

 

Poverty, his rough hands willing to work;

 

 

Joseph struggled in the four year interim

 

 

Devised by Moroni as he became mature,

 

 

Desiring to record himself & family high.

 

 

As Alvin broke like a cold thermometer,

 

 

A mere glass shell full of lethal mercury,

 

 

So Joseph became a steel rod of intention,

 

 

Streaking straight as an arrow to belief.

 

 

What to do with the truth once he got it?

 

 

Joseph knew better than to forge forward

 

 

With arm-of-flesh alone, knew weakness

 

 

In face of onslaughts of Satan like a day he

 

 

Kneeled alone in the grove to seek truth.

 

 

Wondered how to overcome again&again

 

 

A black dust-storm sandpapering his eyes.

 

 

Fighting frustration didn't help his doubt:

 

 

Only the firestorms of God could conquer.

 

 

So Joseph found an electric star-point

 

 

Like God's fingertip touching into faith.

 

 

Like shocks of knowing thru revelation

 

 

The exact answer at exactly the right

 

 

Time when waves of truth flow inside

 

 

Like lightning igniting the sky to bright

 

 

Silhouettes of holy shadows, sounding,

 

 

Life-of-forms & spiking-split-seconds

 

 

Inside of his inner seeking mindscape.

 

 

The white stone Joseph carried with him

 

 

All throughout his life dazzled his eyes

 

 

In visions racing past vast crystal ridges

 

 

Of faith formed in his mind by vibrations

 

 

Found in his hand as he prayed to know

 

 

The will of his God in what he would say

 

 

Next    un- knowing    what  was    coming

 

 

Revelations revealing unknown vistas far

 

 

Beyond mere man's seeing:   to be a Seer.

 

 

Mysteries deepened even as he solved them:

 

 

He had borne the brunt, the haggard edge of

 

 

Charges made unjustly, never knowing when

 

 

New revelation would place him once again

 

 

Dead-center inside of rage against the Savior.

 

 

Living anew he had known sorrow so often

 

 

For all he had known in the name of Christ:

 

 

For giving all he had & all he knew in spirit,

 

 

Joseph deserved riptides of Joy in his heart.

 

 

Sustained by the Holy Ghost his days had

 

 

Deadened a pain of folly when men stayed

 

 

Dormant instead of rising in leaven of faith.

 

 

He recalled bread-dough carefully made by

 

 

Emma {forever his faithful&eternal darling}

 

 

Like his soul in sustenance to men around him,

 

 

Serving meanings grasped from very air &

 

 

Filled with words sounded by God, words

 

Given through him to edify and save them.

 

 

CANTO 6

 

 

A clod of earth flung against the house awakens 

 

 

Emma one night. Joseph lies beside her praying.

 

 

He can feel tension of her body springing into

 

 

Resistance {as fine sprays of weeping willows

 

 

Would bend had she and he been lying alone

 

 

Once more in fields of ferns in pure courtship}

 

 

Now the earth seems to rise against them in

 

 

Anger at the hands of offended men cursing

 

 

Outside, shouting reprisal in their wish to kill.

 

 

He calms her with his hand.  Would he and she

 

 

Be alone ever again? Don't respond, whispers

 

 

Emma, knowing her brave husband might rush

 

 

Outside to protect her from the vicious pack

 

 

Howling for Joseph's blood. They lie still as if

 

 

Heaven would quietly open and shower down

 

 

Deadly scorpions upon the surrounding mob:

 

 

Yet quiet could only provoke inculpable evil

 

 

Persisting outside their little heavenly home.

 

 

I'll lie beside the child, he says to Emma.  Calm 

 

 

Him against the night, she replies.  Demons can-

 

 

not harm us when we rest our souls in the Lord,

 

 

says Joseph.  They mean to kill you.  So be it In the Lord,

 

 

He replies. We are in His hands this night. Joseph

 

 

Lies down beside little Joe, the Murdock twin,

 

 

Who, pockered with measles, can only tremble.

 

 

Voices of devils outside seem to subside a while.

 

 

Mother Emma, Father Joseph, slip into slumber.

 

 

Suddenly the bedroom door implodes inward

 

 

Exploded by howls&screams of a vicious mob,

 

 

As though a single beast of hate made of faces

 

 

Wrenched&snarling with deadly vengeful evil

 

 

Could tear a veil of heaven away to raging hell

 

 

Of blame&fear&envy blazing in hollow hearts.

 

 

They yank Joseph from beside the ailing child

 

 

And drag him outside like a writhing beef-slab

 

 

Ready for slaughter in a dim&echoing woods.

 

 

As they drag him over underbrush and weeds,

 

 

The lean trees seem as prison bars to Joseph

 

 

{Now naked body gleaming in sweat of rage}.

 

 

Quick kick to an attacker {aptly named Waste}

 

 

Sends the man sprawling, cursing his luck &

 

 

Joe Smith who wuz out fer all of them gurls

 

 

Gonna git what's comin' to him once&fer all!

 

 

Caterwauling men hold him to a board like

 

 

A patient on a weed-bound rat-tattered-table. 

 

 

Splashes of venom flung from a bubbling keg, 

 

 

Glops of black tar spew as drops of liquid evil

 

 

Down on sheer bare skin of a Prophet of God

 

 

Stretched out on a wood board like a trophy

 

 

Of the hunt that scapegoat they hold in place

 

 

To placate their burning guilt rite here before 

 

 

Them lies that lying son of perdition who con- 

 

 

demned their ways of sinless religion twined

 

 

Like snakes round crooked fingers in worship.

 

 

As sodden men mock and laugh unspeakable 

 

 

Taunts and insults, Joseph sees drunken Dr. 

 

 

Dennison, shaky razor in one hand, whiskey 

 

 

Flask in the other, staring at his naked groin.

 

 

The moment lingers a dull blank look inside 

 

 

The empty physician who, as though vaguely 

 

 

Recalling the oath he took aforetime before 

 

 

Some other life, drops the razor in the grass

 

 

& flees damnation howling, God forgive me!

 

 

How dare this upstart untangle pure souls 

 

 

Tearing apart settled longtime religion to

 

 

Unravel snake-laden traditions that prove

 

 

God won't bite a believer but sure as hell

 

 

Strikes evil invaders' blasphemous beliefs 

 

 

So kicks Joe Smith who thinks he saw God

 

 

In flesh & who thinks God is flesh so dam-

 

 

well shows him God dips sinners in black

 

 

Tar with white feathers fer angels wings!

 

 

The neighbors of Joseph {friends&fiends} go

 

 

Dumb as if struck by lost conscience which  

 

 

Stabs their hearts and groins to groan as one 

 

 

Drunk in iniquity suffers a hangover too late.

 

 

They kick Joseph a few more times for kicks, 

 

 

Then laugh their way into swaggering night.

 

 

The razor glints in the grass. Joseph stumbles

 

 

Home alone & breathes a soft sigh of thanks

 

 

To his Maker who alone never lets him down. 

 

 

{knock} Warily, Emma cracks open the door,

 

 

Blinks once--twice--stifles a scream of shock.

 

 

For a split second she imagines herself in a

 

 

Dream like staring at a nightmare of ... what?

 

 

Werewolf? Tar-baby? A demon from hell?

 

 

No, no, it's the dearest person ever walked

 

 

This wicked world, brave husband, Joseph!

 

 

She reaches for his sticky black arm, touches

 

 

His scratched face tenderly, leads him inside.

 

 

Peeling black scabs of tar from his body &

 

 

Washing each spot in warm water & lotion,

 

 

She says gently, How'd you get so scratched?

 

 

Other women in the room help with the chore,

 

 

Picking feathers out of sticky tar on patches 

 

 

Of red skin;  inky-black glue & blue bruises 

 

 

Seem to blend with stain of faint lamp-light;

 

 

All through the night his family and friends

 

 

Clean & mend Joseph of a brutal evil attack.

 

 

Fallen from the trundle in the skirmish of

 

 

Adults, baby Joe, their little adopted twin,

 

 

Suffers in the dire cold and dies days later,

 

 

A collateral casualty to livid evil aimed at

 

 

Joseph but killing another innocent soul.

 

 

Later Emma discovers one of those beasts

 

 

Leaped on her husband like a savage cat,

 

 

Clawing & scratching at his naked flanks,

 

 

His fingernails raking skin from his body . . . 

 

 

Liberty Jail: {alone among friends} days replay

 

 

Endless allusions to his life among men retold

 

 

And told by enemies into vicious lies of his virtue

 

 

Extinguished in darkness yet waking his inner-

 

 

most soul fiery-shining-defiance & truth-told &

 

 

God-intoned-revelation digging deep inside his

 

 

Quelled rage to verify each move he made since

 

 

Starburst-center-glory overwhelmed in sights:

 

 

These then those sparkling visions like galaxies:

 

iamron2@verizon.net

POEM IN PROCESS

TO BE CONTINUED

BACK TO BLOGGLE

__________________________________________________

INTRODUCTION TO WEB SITE

 

 

MORMONEPIC.COM

   iamron2@verizon.net

                copyright2010RonaldWilcox

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

RONALD WILCOX 

was born in Holladay, Utah, in 1934. Educated at Brigham Young University, he later received a Masters Degree from Baylor University, where he studied experimental drama with theatrical innovator Paul Baker. He played the lead role in Thomas Wolfe's Of Time and the River. (See photo right.) This play became the premiere production of the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Dallas Theater Center. As a Resident Artist in the Professional Repertory Company for twenty-three years, he appeared in over sixty plays. Four of his own plays were produced in Dallas, New York City, and Los Angeles. He designed and directed the premiere of his play The Tragedy of Thomas Andros. He has published a novel, The Rig. His poetry has appeared in Dialogue, A Journal of Mormon Thought. The title poem of his collection, Multiplicity, was published in the anthology, Harvest: Contemporary Mormon Poems. His poem in process, Mormon Epic, tells the story of Joseph Smith & the Mormon movement, recapturing in a new medium, (the internet), the spirit of classic epic poetry: 

MORMON EPIC (iconic version)

BLOGGLE

        (TABLE OF CONTENTS)

 

 

I use my computer screen like a never-ending  scroll of icons, clusters of words, each iconic stanza unrolling in electrons, spinning out a virtual web into the nether-nether-ether-land of infinite 

                  cyberspace

I search for a form to contain my feelings, to toss like a bottle of notes floating in this ocean of space, where somewhere, somehow, someone might find it.

My feelings mostly come out in poems. So do my thoughts and beliefs. They've taken this form for many years now.  

Some have been published in Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought.

WWW provides me with a near-miraculous means of extending myself further. 

See UNDERSTANDING MEDIA, The Extensions of Man, by Marshall McLuhan.

I create an on-going bloggle (bottle) full of poems I share with you, you being you (whoever you are) who stumbled upon my web-site somewhere in the vast world wide web.

At 76 I still have more to say so I say old stuff like a poem in a new medium

& look forward to each day to write some more. I hope you enjoy what I have to say.