Stranger #3: Father Lashawn
A Day In My Town

An Old Ditty

image from

I was going through boxes today and came across a poem I wrote in 1993 while I was a Mormon Missionary and living in Düsseldorf, Germany.  It was near the end of my mission and I was getting into the mode of moving back home to Salt Lake City.  Very near this time of year.  It's 'painterly' and full of sexy stuff and oh so serious.  It gave me a grin. 

I, Nephi

I remember the wind
and the pale moon
Lighting a dusty path
I didn't know.
Who was he that I
Saw on that evening?
Why had he lain there
In that moment?
As if he were waiting for me.
Interrupting silence with the short heaving breaths.

Did he not hear my approach
Or feel the empty sheath?
Where had his heart gone?
Or the man behind the heavy,
Crowded eyes.

And the whisperings that came;
The subtle sounding
And the strong impulses.
"It is better that one man
should perish than a nation."

As I walked through
I touched the hilt,
Aware of that self-same sword
And the stains hidden
Inside its sheath.
Could it cover my pounding heart
And my throbbing head?

It seems as if the wind
Had whispered to me
As I spoke with a
Low, distant voice...

We would track on,
Our little clan.
This house, that would soon
lie in ruins.
And we would find our way
Over a sea
Cut deep enough to hold
All floods. 

I kinda like that last stanza.  And don't get me wrong, I poke fun at my turgid prose poem but i loved my mission and especially living in Düsseldorf.  I met some of the most amazing people there.  And not everything was serious, either.  For instance, my friend, Aaron - then Elder Hale, and I did dusty gym floor figure skating.  Mormons, not to mention Germans, are known for cleanliness and the gym floor at our church was rarely less than glistening.  But for some reason our gym floor went neglected for enough time to gather a nice layer of dust; perfect for figure skating in slippery leather dress shoes.  We'd do lunges and sit spins.  Twirls of all sorts.  I tried a modified butterfly jump and ended up on my butt.  We finished by throwing our arms up, backs arched; a great big smile on our faces.  And we were always in hysterics well before the skating was done.