Category Archives: Mormon nature literature

On Finding the Great Witley Church by Karen Kelsay

great witley church

We saw your massive golden dome from down
below, a baroque body oddly out
of place. I snapped your picture by the brown
limbs hanging near the roadside fence, devout
 
old guards, one hundred years had left behind.
We leaned across your speckled balustrades
beside the river, where worn paths entwined
and crisscrossed near the watery cascades.
 
Then, hiking grassy slopes around the charred
magnificent old court, adjacent to
your holy place, we found a heavy door.
Surprised at how we easily slipped through,
 
we scramble in like heathens, unaware.
Inside were angels winged with elegance.
Subdued by stained glass, carvings, heaven’s air,
we marveled at your ancient relevance.
 
The pious moment passed, and then I thought
of all the souls who sat within your pews;
the offerings and sadness that they brought.
Your wood grain’s worn, as if it might transfuse

into a blemished song, or ancient phrase,
that mutely sings of suffering and praise.

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Photo by the poet, used with permission. For a recent bio of Kelsay, go here. For a comprehensive list of her poems published at WIZ, go here.

Hard Head Diver by Karen Kelsay

dad diving

He keeps his diving helmet in a shed.
The memories that it buoys up, aren’t dead—
that heavy hat of bolts protects his pride.
He seldom ever has to look inside
the wooden crate beneath the old work bench,
where all his man-things: chisel, hammer, wrench,
as if in dry dock, wait to be reused.
His wife told him to toss it, he refused.
You’re eighty-five, you’ll never need that thing!
But somehow, he can never seem to bring
himself to entertain the thought. The brass
is surely worth a fortune, and the glass…
The chance is slim, but yet he still regards
an abalone dive as in the cards.

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Photo is of the poet’s father, and is used here by permission. For more by Kelsay at WIZ, please see the bio here, and a comprehensive index here.

Love in Winter by Laura Craner

FL_Cape_Henry_Trail_with_a_Blanket_of_Snow_(5304103522)

Your expectations are brisk,
Like December’s chill as it sneaks under the door.
Your needs are persistent,
Like a child’s breath on wintry windows, which
Creeps and spreads like nighttime secrets:
Whispered wishes freezing
Molecules, and moments, into memories.

Your words, like snowflakes in tree branches;

Your thoughts, like snowdrifts, cloud my eyes:

Encroaching, enfolding, encasing, enclosing.

Like the first blanket of winter, you
Transform my heart’s topography.
Glistening on worn out things while
Masking and obscuring autumnal death,
You make cold feel like warmth.
Death and sleep are sometimes not so different.

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laura craner headshotLaura Hilton Craner is a single mother of four who occasionally moonlights as a writer and poet. Her essays, reviews, blog posts, and stories have appeared in Dialogue: a Journal of Mormon Thought, Segullah, and A Motley Vision, where she occasionally moonlights as a contributor.

Photo via Wikimedia Commons by an unnamed Virginia State park interpreter.

Most Days, the Morning Sun’s a Blazing Smudge by Mark Penny

Mark image

Most days, the morning sun’s a blazing smudge
Athwart the city’s searing opal dome,
An egg dropped on an egg, the crack of dawn
Sprawling against a shield that will not budge.
But sometimes, when I stay up all the night
To will my love of nature on the world,
No screen of silken, dusty gray or white
Conceals the chick of heaven where it’s curled.
Those days, the line of jungled, jumbled crags
That spine this island juts along the east
Like a cold lizard basking and the rags
Of last night’s laundry tremble at the beast.
Then the frail yellow phoenix lifts its head
To light the sky and burn awake the dead.

_______________________________________
Mark headshotA middle-aged man in Taiwan
Declared it was time to get on
With his stories and verse
Before loading the Hearse.
It’s of him the above is the spawn.

Mark is, if not ubiquitous, variously present, as follows: Mars Denar, ici, Lowly Seraphim, Dawning of a Brighter Day, Sunstone, and Dialogue.

Photo by the poet.

Putting Up Peaches by Merrijane Rice

Vincent_van_Gogh_-_De_roze_perzikboom_-_Google_Art_Project

Beside the garden wall where grapevines run,
a peach tree stands, diseased and bent with age.
Her blackened branches reach up to the sun
in daily supplication for her wage.

Each year, I think, must surely be her last,
but faithfulness is undeterred by whims.
So, not content to rest on harvests past,
she bears young fruit on geriatric limbs.

With every spring, new buds and blooms emerge
and swell with promise fed by summer rains.
Though twisted and decrepit, still the surge
of liquid light flows through her ancient veins.

I’ll gather and preserve her living gold
to line my pantry shelves against the cold.

_______________________________________________
MRice-HeadshotMerrijane is a resident of Kaysville, Utah, where the mountains loom large, the sky is beautiful even when it’s gray, and the geese are always just passing through. She loves nature in a literary sense, often drawing from it to write poetry. But do not even think about trying to take her camping unless there is a structure nearby with functional plumbing.

Image: Vincent van Gogh, De roze perzikboom (The pink peach tree), 1888.

Serendipity by Merrijane Rice

Erickson Image 1

The sunset splashes honey colors wide
and floods the valley floor with golden light.
It laps the mountains on the other side
before it circles down the drain of night.

Upon the dark blue dusk, the moon floats high,
adrift within the last of twilight’s glow.
Too early for the stars to fleck the sky,
the city lights take up the task below.

I’m one such light, now flowing through a stream
of weekday traffic like a shooting star.
By merest chance, I caught this evening’s dream
because I had to navigate my car

from basketball to piano for my son.
Thank heaven for the errands I must run.

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MRice-HeadshotMerrijane is a resident of Kaysville, Utah, where the mountains loom large, the sky is beautiful even when it’s gray, and the geese are always just passing through. She loves nature in a literary sense, often drawing from it to write poetry. But do not even think about trying to take her camping unless there is a structure nearby with functional plumbing.

Photo by Nicholas Tonelli, 2007, via Wikimedia Commons

LONNOL Events

WIZ Valentine9

WIZ’s heart and LONNOL Month is officially open.

We’ve received a few tokens of affection but are longing for more. Please search your files for poems, short fiction, short essays, mp3s of readings of your work or of other work that’s in public domain, your original artwork, etc. and send them winging our way.

Along with submissions from our readers, we’ll have a winter wonderland/fond feelings haiku chain, to be initiated soon.

Also, February 24th is WIZ’s birthday. We’ll be four years old. To celebrate, we’ll be offering one or more of WIZ’s old movie giveaways. Giving our readers presents on our birthday is something we really enjoy doing. To “win” an old movie, all you’ll have to do is read each movie’s review and comment in the comment section. WIZ will contact you with further instructions about how to receive your free DVD.

It has been a hard, difficult, overlong (some would say interminable) winter. Let’s use February to warm things up.