Ice Storm: The TransgressionRain this morning moistened the bark of my plum tree
Then froze and made it captive, a wonder
Glistening, completely sheathed and caught up
In this rite of winter, a garden of delight.
As the wind brushed the paired ice and wood
They tinkled and crackled with life
Like a bed of puffed rice on a churning sea of milk.
So unexpected, this call, this voice of ice against bark, -
Was it the sound of friction, or perhaps the yielding of ice
As the tree sought to bend where ice could not,
Or the squeaking of wood pressed to new forms -
I did not know, but I was curious, and listened
Until the breeze faded, and the night was still.
The ice shimmered in the streetlight, most brightly
On a limb near me, where an alien icicle grew from a whisper of ice
And flared out below, a crystal plumb-bob defining up and down,
Or a divine fruit clinging to a brittle stem.
I would return, I promised, in due time to this gift,
And bring lights, reflector, tripod, and camera
To capture this delicacy and celebrate the beauty of ice and bark.
But I must wait and first shovel this sidewalk, my duty.
I soon stopped, as the memory of the sound of crisp ice against bark
Made me curious anew: I reached back to touch, just once, to touch and feel
And stir that tingling voice of two natures moving as one.
Unthinking, hurried, a random twig - and then I heard the breaking
Of a sacred thread and the gentle crunch of a fruit falling into the snow,
A promise unkept.
Beyond Reflection: If Truth...If truth were not so fragile
I would thrust my hand into a mirror
And trace the contours of my face, to scan
As others can the markings of my life, and I would know more.
If truth were not so fragile
If truth were not so fragile
The Recital: A Light TouchThe offending camera flares for less than the eye's smallest flight
But then a thousand times more time is moved and bends
Away from the pianist, not immune to such parasites of light
Selfishly sucking a moment's space into the lips of a lens.
It looked flawless on film: four keys firmly down, the other hand a blur
The lesson of Schroedinger's cat: to fathom, even as subtly as a dream,
Wet Wisconsin Summer
Wisps of mist roll like dustballs
It's been a wet Wisconsin summer
Mosquitoes blur the landscape, sucking away the outdoors.
We gather cats and dogs and retreat into our arks,
Recede, waters, recede, but our prayers are still unanswered.
We could stockpile food and seal all openings
Racing Toward TemptationOne Sunday morning, racing to beat the opening prayer
Dad ran into temptation
(or would have had the brakes been worn).
It was his arch nemesis:
"Another old man in a hat," he growled.
The hat was always the problem: reduced blood flow
To the brain would make everything . . . go . . . slow.
We tailed a long ways before we could pass,
He fingers softly drummed a prayer for patience on the horn,
During our trial on the slow and narrow path
I knew it would happen: We missed the first amen
MatriotI. The Ambush
Camouflaged behind random rust and remnants of green, not unseen, not fit
Target reached: Deploy! The patrol spills out. Search and seize: cold syrup,
Calmed, storied, tucked, nearly asleep. She gazes: Am I making gravel
Headlights Bright in Midnight Mountain FogFog should know better than to shroud a void,
Cloaking the sight of what wasn't there,
Masking the line between road and air,
Casting this star to a new career,
One I'd rather avoid: meteoroid.
Who knew what fate would toss at me
I've squealed these curves each weekend, swift,
I sense it now - rock-solid matter
Sparse gasps of light puff and fade, puff
and fade, and sometimes fall and die.
Bodies too small for the task of filling,
Fires too weak to warm the chilling,
Glimmers too soft to break the solid, empty sky:
Their songs, but whispers, can't calm the raging dark.
These ten thousand fruitless lights
One body, one fire, one sweeping beam
Bruce F. Webster, "Some Thoughts on Higher Dimensional Realms," BYU Studies, Vol. 20, No. 3, 1980, pp. 281-294. Indeed, many descriptions of the manifestations of God to man in the scriptures (especially unique LDS scriptures such as the Pearl of Great Price) suddenly make sense when this possibility is considered. Just as 3-D beings could do and see many unusual things when interacting with a 2-D flatland, so it is possible that some aspects of God's power are linked to higher dimensionality. Wild, bizarre, etc., but interesting. LDS types are also referred to Romans 8:14-18 and Doctrine and Covenants 130:7-9 and 76:94; the LDS concept of the pre-mortal existence is also relevant.
From here, crouched, knees to face
Forgotten now: the instinct to stand,
Bright, endlessly visible, a sphere,
Our broad oak, spilling
Shadows over half our yard,
Anchor to generations of
Swinging children, faithful
In sheltering our home,
Filled with promise, roots
Steady like stone, limbs
Gracious with their fruits,
Squirming with squirrels: Surely
It can spare a few leaves
Each leaf remains so long, held
Against earth's pull and weather's wrath.
I've seen great trees plucked bare, pruned
Here, where shadows learn their dance
Flocking to the New Majority:Now no fleece hides
The rough wolf pelt
On beasts whose tongues
Can taste no guilt.
Most sheep still left
Ether 3: On a MountainFractured crystals, molten
Once. Cold now, and clouded,
Carried to this holy peak.
Lacking light, a plea:
Touch these with thy fire.
Not fire - a hand, or part
And brighter than fire still.
That we can bear, with grace
What thou wilt reveal thyself unto me?
Back to the top of this page
Haiku for lost URLs - on my "Sorry, that URL is missing" page
"Constructs of an Unseen Fly Buzzing in the Room" - a poem by my friend, Jerry Long, a fine writer in Salt Lake City, posted on my site with his permission on Sept. 11, 2005. It's also posted on my LDS blog, Mormanity.
Return to the Home Planet
See the list of Jeff Lindsay's pages.
Atlantic Monthly Poetry Pages
The LDS Fiction Archive - a new but growing effort to provide fiction and poetry from LDS authors. Several of my poems are available there, with my permission.
Don't get taken by Poetry.com - thanks to Dave Barry's blog for the tip.
Life used to be so full of aches:
Everything would bother me.
Now it's just a piece of cake
Since my lobotomy.
N after Sept. 11, 2005: [an error occurred while processing this directive]