Yearning for God, Trying to Love My Neighbor, Making Theatre and Beauty, Building a Life...

Monday, January 14, 2013

Poetry From Oz: A Few Poems Written From My Mission in Australia

Note: I've been doing some organizing of my personal history and have found some long neglected documents from my past. I will be adding a good deal of that sort of thing on my personal history blog, but I wanted to include some of my poetry written on my mission to Australia here. Remember, all of this was written over a decade ago, so keep that in mind when assessing it's quality, or lack thereof. ;) But it a piece of my life, which I'm sentimental about: 

(Dated Feb. 2000 in my father's handwriting, which indicates that's at least when my parents received it enclosed with one of my letters)

Pandora's Paradox (Part One)
 by Elder Stewart

I have found myself in a paradox
to be thankful for weakness.
These ailments which have haunted me 
have now refined this silver heart of mine 
into something more pure. 

Who expected the stumbling, fumbling jester,
that foppish clown of faults,
to be the one to penetrate the hidden chamber
of my dark dragon's life?

To see that downtrodden fool,
still clad in bells and cap,
go against that wyrm which felled my best warriors,
my most sharpened archers and swordsmen of diligence, will, and logic.
To see that colorful figure of patchwork smite my most fearful enemy within me.
                             Is it not laughable?
It is a joyful jest,
to see the once thought nuisance,
enter the field I never allowed him to tread,
and return with a victor's cheer of truth,
and raise that now harmless dragon's tooth.

(also marked as February 2000 is my father's handwriting)

Pandora's Paradox (Part Two)
by Elder Stewart

Never did I suspect
that I would cry gratefully for these
weak knees of mine.
For it is through their unsteadiness
that I found myself
             and kneeling
                           in prayer.
As it was with Adam's fruit of frail humanity,
that bitter-sweet seed that brought him from
          Paradise to
                   Probation to
So it is my own inadequacies,
that conquer my fiery pride,
and through their debasing power,
I am exposed to the gentle touch of
Celestial Winds.

Humming Eternity
by Elder Mahonri Stewart

Our mortal mouths are able to but whistle
the melody of the Great Symphony,
And although many of our kind become exceptional whistlers,
We are still unable to capture and display the
immortal music of Eternal Truth.

Thus have I learned not to despair when my
puckered lips cannot adequately describe and conduct
the glory that I heard in God's grand hall
(that concert hall of an empty closet and bended knees).

Nor do I shake when the cynics and music critics croak at my
cricket-like attempts to declare that I have truly heard
Heavenly Strains.

So while these frogs of intellectual and spiritual snobbery
content themselves with their closed circles of swampish sounds,
I shall continue to plunk out my limited musical talent,
Inviting others to pay the price of admission
(that of a broken heart and contrite spirit)
hoping that they, too, will understand the
                                                                           Eternal Crescendo. 

by Elder Mahonri Stewart

"Doth it please thee?" the calming usher asks,
"Know ye not that thy feet can stand in such high places?"
The smiling phantom watches my anxious glance,
As we view the elegant orator draw the adoring masses,
his velvet robes gracing marble halls.
"Can ye not know that thy works can obtain that perch?
Can ye not know that thou canst stand higher than he,
and have women cling to thee
                and Emperor's entertain thee?
Dost thou not wield the pen?
                Use it for thy benefit and
                thrill them with thy mythologies
                and woo them with thy words.
Dost thou sing?
                Then seduce them with melodies
                 and cast thy enchantments.
Dost thou act?
                 Hone that desire into skill and
                 thou canst gain their bravado and affection.
Does thou see that orator?
Dost thou see how his politic and propaganda so easily
engender them to him?
It takes not a wise man to accumulate such--
                                        just a worldly one.
A watchful observer wields the wealth
and a man who can see the tides
will not knit his heart with sinking ships
and his erect head will always be above waters."

I nod to the shadow
and wish him a pleasant day in the palace,
then I retrieve my shovel
and walk the distance from the palace to my
solitary inheritance.
There I begin digging on the plot.
Desert, though it may be,
absent of exotic flora,
My Lord told me it will yield and blossom,
And my Lord never lies.

Thus it is here that I shall build my foundation,
and on this granite site shall stand a house
in which I shall live with my Beloved.
(that woman who shall assist me in this work
and ignore that unstable castle and their tauntings)
and we shall rear a righteous household
and multiply and replenish worlds.

Our children shall shine brighter than suns,
                                         Fairer than moons,
                                             And outlast the dim stars
The sands of the seashore shall envy our number
and the sands' unfaithful grip shall topple that grand building beyond.

This Heart in Ancient Wonder
Written by Elder Mahonri Stewart
previous to the Melbourne Temple Dedication
- Dedicated to President Gordon B. Hinckley

This heart in ancient wonder,
Seems to be treading pre-mortal paths,
As veils divide asunder,
Thus can I gain all my Father hath.

These great occasions arise,
With the Lord's house in our precious view;
With the councils of the wise,
Our Lord's saints gather, no longer few.
My soul in preparation,
To hear the prophet of our Great God,
Opens to revelation,
Stranger as I am on foreign sod;

--Suddenly earthly systems break--

As the Living Christ takes upon himself my burden
And I am no longer fettered by worldly cares
I launch into familiar newness.

With our youthful, aged prophet
(seeming to defy even the shackles of time)
I shall cry "Hosanna!" in the presence of generations
to give glory to the Living God
whose Spirit descends as the dews of heavens.

--  --

Thus upon this isle of the seas,
Far from my country, though I be,
A stranger I am not to roam,
For where my Father's house stands,
there is Home.  

Firm Ground
by Elder Mahonri Stewart

Thy hand, Dear Lord,
Could not be more evident,
For how couldst thy presence be more felt,
Than to see circumstance and chance so mastered.

Much like an obedient child,
I have seen events and opportunities follow thy counsel
and conform to thy will.
Mine eyes have seen opposition fall
like the withered leaves of the fig tree.

Dear Lord, let me be encompassed by thy Spirit
as baptismal water
Always immersed in thy care
Ready to rise from the bonds of sin and death
Reborn and ready to trust thy hand.

For, in that trust,
all walls crumble,
and highways are created where there was once only
waves and barriers.   

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