Category Archives: poetry

Poetry by myself and others.

A Friend’s Poem

After about 5 years of separation from most of my earthly belongings, I finally went with my dad to his storage unit to pick up all of the old junk that I left behind when I went back to college after my mission. Well, it’s really cool to go through this stuff after so much time has elapsed. I just looked in the writing anthology that my 7th grade language arts class produced, and decided this poem by my good friend Ben Wilson deserved to be transcribed:

Water Cycle

In the days of rain
the earth is dark
And skies are gray with sorrow,
but on the eve when
the sun breaks through
rejoice is on the morrow.

In the days of sun
the Earth is green
but soon becomes in vain,
For when plants go parched
and start to die
you wish for days of rain
–Ben Wilson

You know, it’s not Nobel Prize material. But it’s good, especially for a 7th-grader. Nice job, 7th Grade Ben!

The Epic of Zagmurf

I went to Cheney to visit Susanna yesterday, and had a great time. After going out to lunch, she, Ben, and I all sat around watching me play World of Warcraft. I love games like that—which is why I forbid myself from regularly playing them, because I can’t seem to play in moderation. But, this just once wouldn’t hurt, right? 😉

Anyway, I created a character—a night elf hunter, as a matter of fact. He was an mighty man, whose name, in the annals, was said to be Zagmurf. Yea, and in the first year of his hunting Zagmurf did slay many beasts of the forest: nasty spider things, and boars, and a rabbit. And Zagmurf waxed strong in the ways of questing, and he did level up.

But lo, Zagmurf’s bow-hunting skills were wonderful great, even to exceed all in the realm of Shadowglen. Yea, he slew the beasts from afar, and their poison spraying upon him was like the soothing fall of rain on his skin. And in the second year of his hunting, Zagmurf did gain the Stalk Beasts skill, and received many a ruined pelt as his prize. Nevertheless, Zagmurf was a friend unto the beasts, slaying only that which was meet. And he was beloved of the woodland creatures.

Yet in the third year of his hunting, Zagmurf was afflicted with an strange ailment, and did linger on the threshold of death, even until the forest animals did howl and cry at the sickening of so mighty a man. And in the fourth year, Zagmurf gave up the ghost, and returned to crumble unto dust upon the earth. And in that very hour, a boar did break forth into song, singing:

The mighty hunter, Zagmurf, is dead!
whose marvelous skill was exceeded only by his care.
May his bowstring spring ever-tight!
May his knife-blade glint ever-bright!
Though his body rot in the grave’s earthy bed,
In our mem’ry he’ll always be fair!

And when the boar had sung his verse memorial, he was seen to shed a tear. Then stood forth a deer to speak honorful words over the corse of Zagmurf, saying:

“Behold, all ye who loved Zagmurf! and hark, though your fathers were slain by his bow! Here lieth a man in the glory of death. Yet better it were”—and he paused, and with his mouth layed a wreath of ivy upon Zagmurf’s cold brow—“to remember the glory of life which he showed us.”

And he kissed the man’s face, though its aspect was funereal-somber. The deer then righted himself, and continued:

“Indeed, mayhap his love—which was great—shall be magnified in death, unto the gain of the living. Yea, haply his power—which was fearsome—shall not weaken with his flesh but shall invigorate us to yet nobler deeds of valor. And haply his heart—which was great—at his passing beat not its last beat, but its first unto our lasting welfare.

“So all hail Zagmurf! and all praise! For he was, verily, an mighty man!”

Thus fell Zagmurf, the mighty hunter, whose ways were the ways of the just. And he quested no more in the land of Shadowglen.

A Return to Blogism

My good friend Michelle pointed out with disappointment that I hadn’t posted anything to my blog for months. I made her what I hoped wouldn’t become a hollow promise: to post, or, in other words, to return to blogism. Well, Michelle, here it is.

The Past

I’ve been spending a lot of time lately transcribing my journal from my freshman year here at BYU. Some people think it’s depressing to read old journals, and I admit that from time to time I do find that to be the case, especially if I’m really dissatisfied with the now. But in recent weeks it’s been a very positive experience. Check out this long sequence (with some editing):

Saturday, October 6, 2001

General Conference!

Ben and Brandon came to Utah this weekend for General Conference, among other things. They had an extra ticket for the afternoon session, and their uncle Harold had an extra standby ticket for Priesthood session. So we got to go to both!

Waiting in line before the afternoon session, we met a girl from Pleasant Grove named Charlotte…. Anyway, we talked and after the afternoon session we ate dinner at a little diner on North Temple called Dee’s. We laughed, we had fun – those precious human interactions that are both impossible and meaningless to quantify. Charlotte summed it up when she said, “You know, it feels like I’ve known you guys for years.” It’s a pretty cliché line, but I totally agreed with her—it seemed like we were already friends, even before we met.

Before Charlotte left and we went to priesthood meeting, I got her phone number and cellphone number. Here’s the final twist to the story: … five minutes after meeting Charlotte, I just had this feeling that I should ask her to the Homecoming dance.

Tuesday, October 16, 2001

Quick update:

I asked Charlotte to Homecoming, which will be Friday night. Very stressful figuring this all out, but it will be fun.

I’ve been running with Michelle on Tuesday and Thursday nights. Tonight we were running on the track by the stadium and she told me about this guy who Christie is interested in. He is 25 and he’s moving way too fast with Christie….

Friday, October 19, 2001

Tonight I went to Homecoming with Charlotte. First, I had to get some things done at school and otherwise, though. This morning I woke up later than I had planned, but I still wanted to take my Physical Science test before the American Heritage lab.

Charlotte was supposed to pick me up at 6:30, and Dan and Michelle, too. (On my recommendation, Dan asked Michelle to go to the dance with him.)

Charlotte ended up being about an hour late because I gave her 1460 N as our street instead of 1430 N. By the time we got to Macaroni Grill for dinner our reservations were long overdue, so we had about a 40 minute wait to be seated. In the meantime, the four of us walked around a little shopping center outdoors. Charlotte graciously blocked my view of “€œVictoria’s Secret”€ as we walked past it. We meandered around Border’s (a bookstore) for a while, then headed back to the restaurant just in time to be seated.

Our table was near a gas fireplace that was burning just enough to keep gas from building up around it. We could still smell the burner gas though.

On our paper table covering I drew in crayon a picture of a sun rising against a bold blue sky. In the bottom I wrote “€œCharlotte is my sunshine!”€ Of course, Charlotte had already written my full name in beautiful lettering on her portion of the paper. We cut our respective works of art out with my picket knife scissors and gave them to each other. (I left mine in the car though. I’ll have to get that for her….)

After a delicious dinner, on, on to the dance! A crazy trip south on I-15 brought us to the Chillon Reception Center in Spanish Fork. We escorted our dates in the cool, gusty night to a large stone or brick building.

OK, pause. One thing I really noticed tonight was that because it was cold, when Charlotte hooked her elbow in mine it was like she cuddled in for warmth. When girls do that, and they cling to your elbow like you’re a protector of sorts, it makes me so excited! It’s amazing how awesome it makes you feel!

At the dance, Charlotte and I tried competing in the swing dance competition. We began dancing (quite well, in my opinion) but when the DJ started calling out couples’ numbers we got confused as we didn’t have one. So we weren’t really that much in contention, but we had a great time—the swing music was very refreshing.

One time while we were dancing, I told Charlotte about my fears that she’d think I was stalking her when I called to ask her to Homecoming after just meeting her. She responded by saying that she didn’t have to give me her phone number—that was optional. Good point!

After that dance—and some many great slow dances along with it—we rode home and said goodbye. Goodbye hug. Now a few hours later here I am.

I had an awesome night! I’m pretty sure Charlotte did too! Yeah! Woohoo! Victory! She had fun!

Saturday, October 20, 2001

Due to going to bed very late lats night, I didn’t wake up until 11:30. That left me and everyone else in our apartment 2.5 hours to get ready for cleaning inspection. I was quite surprised how clean this place can really be if we work at it a little bit!

OK, the real exciting part of my evening was when I got home at around 9 o’clock I quickly got a message saying that Charlotte called. I called Charlotte and, after “€œHello, how’re you doing?”€ etc. she told me that the reason she called was to say “€œthanks”€ for last night. I said, “€œOh, it was totally my pleasure. I’m glad to hear you had a good time!”

I also told Charlotte that I left the paper she gave me at the restaurant in her car and would like to get it from her—a convenient excuse for us to have to get together sometime, I say!

I really enjoyed talking to Charlotte tonight and look forward to seeing her again.

On the other hand, I need to be particularly careful not to get too serious with any girls before my mission.

Well, I’m off to bed!

Wow, I was bold! Nowadays I’m waaaay more hesitant to do crazy things like ask girls in lines on dates. Darn hard life experience has lowered my expectations for such craziness, which is a shame, as it seems like we really had a great time.

The Present

I recently started a poem that I want to share:

Dialectic

Behold the brilliant vista,
A world before us lays
Enswirled all by mist, a-
wash with golden rays.

Why weep ye now upon this sight?
You can’t believe what see your eyes?
But it’s here, it’s real, it’s true, it’s bright!

I see naught but clouds below.
There is sunshine, but as well there’s rain.
It’s not that I refuse to know
The good; but that I’ve seen much pain.

But in spite of having seen much more,
Now I see much less than I could see before
And it chills me to the very core.

Light and dark:
They call, they know our names.
We cannot only to one hark
For our path will lead both ways.

Ah but what a sin you’ve found,
Such gloominess as you think on!
Turn your head up. Do not look down,
And soon your gloom will all be gone.

Think not of evil—it is wrong.
Think not sad thoughts—life’s a song!
Think not—or hearts will ache too long.

Naive—you don’t understand.
In fact, I would say you’re slightly blind,
You insolent, odious man,
For you think not of the mind!

It has full well the pow’r to crush you.
When you need to speak, it can quickly hush you.
To fight it is to watch it mush you.

To the friends at bitter odds
Then came another soul
Though by which lonely path he trod
We do not—cannot?—know.

He brought goodness, he spoke peace,
(Somehow knowing what our friends did seek,
But of which they never did speak), saying

Peace is truth, goodness is real,
Not naively, but in actual fact.
It’s obscured by the things that you feel,
‘Times obstructed by the way that you act.

Thus you wander about in a cloud
Through your life as with a burial shroud,
But your goal will never be found.

Obviously the discussion amongst the friends and the inexplicably wise stranger is not complete, because the stranger has only barely introduced some of the themes of his position without really explaining it. There would have to be some exchange between him and the other two before a resolution could be brought about. Sadly, knowing my tendencies of starting and then abandoning poems, I don’t really expect to see that happen. But the poem has already served its purpose of helping me to think through conflicting views of life—both of which I have subscribed to at various points in my life, and both of which are clearly not optimal: the blindly optimistic view because it can’t help anybody, the more pessimistic because it ignores great joy that really is to be found.

Oh, my sister recently introduced me to something that should be indispensable for anybody somewhat inclined to bookishness like myself: Shelfari.

The Future

I have one more month of school before graduating with a B.A. in Linguistics, and I’m terrified of facing The Real World once more.

Terrified? Not so much, actually. I was terrified. That was before I “just happened” to get some interesting ideas. They could be summarized as code, quill, and casa.

Code

Google recently announced the Android Developer Challenge, a contest for good new applications developed for their Android mobile phone platform. Entries for the first round are accepted from January 2 to March 3, 2008, which is right when I start to have nothing to do because of graduating and as yet having no job. It also so happens that the work I’ve been doing for Dr. Ringger in the NLP Lab for the past several months has almost all been in Java—the primary language for Android development. Thus the relevant skills are very fresh at the top of my toolkit. And, once more, it just so happens that I’ve had an idea for a feature for mobile phones bouncing around in my head for almost the past year. Hmm….

Quill

I love to write. I think writing should be a part of my future. I’ve been getting lots of practice in the past year, and I’m getting to the point where I really just want to sit down and write a novel. You know, put in a couple of hours a day brainstorming, outlining, writing, revising. When will there be a better time in my life? I have no dependents, I have the luxury of doing so, why don’t I just give it a shot?

Casa

(Or maybe a better word is pueblo?)
I feel like I need to go home. This feeling came shortly before my older sister offered to let me stay at her house in Washington. So starting sometime after my rental agreement ends at the end of April, I’m going to do just that. I don’t know if I’ll ever return to Provo. I mean, I might, but I just as likely might not. Yikes! I’ve been living here for six years and have come to be very comfortable. But, at the very least for a few months, it’s time to be home. And I’m such a romantic with regards to patria, my homeland. I really, really love it there — there’s something in me that only feels whole at home. I miss the wind, the smells, just those indescribable things that you would only fall in love with if you lived the first 18 years of your life there.

The End

No, not of my life, just of this post 🙂 It’s been quite a grab-bag, eh? And there’s so much more to think and write and say and do!

My life is quite good right now, and I can only say that it is such only as I really seek to do what I know the Lord would have me do. It’s the seeming paradox of obedience: that as we voluntarily shift our activities from what we are naturally inclined to do, to what God wants us to do, we seem to be more able than ever to do the things that we really want to do. No, it’s not always simple; but in being real the gospel of Christ naturally exhibits all of the complexities of the real world, and likewise turns out to have overriding patterns and principles that are very powerful.

‘Tis true.