“psalm to the devil” and “land of the desolate”

Today I am sharing two poems, both of which were featured in the 2014 edition of Kula Manu, the literary journal of Brigham Young University — Hawaii. The first, “psalm to the devil”, was also the first-place entrant in the journal’s poetry category.

psalm to the devil

O fallen son,
Though I may fall,
My death shall be but for a moment;
Thou art fallen forever.

O son of morning,
How the foolish think they are wise!
Though I might be made low,
THou shalt be made lower.

O shining one,
How hast thou lost thy lustre;
Thou art shrouded in darkness,
But I have found light.

O adversary,
Rejoice not in my weakness:
When I fall, I shall arise;
Thou shalt descend into nothing.

This poem is inspired by Isaiah 14:12-15 from the King James bible, and was written to express the struggle of finding optimism when it feels as though you are being dragged downward. Like the verses from Isaiah, I hope that my poem invokes the thought that, however powerful the opposing forces might seem, they are finite and defeatable.


Land of the Desolate

It came in a moment, they said.
We couldn’t have known, they cried.
We’ve been through enough, they wailed,
Then wept as their pleas were denied.

In vain, they grasped for a light in the dark,
But in spite of the smoke, there was not a spark.

They shuddered and breathed in the dusty air
And blinked, unseeing, with empty stares.

Sunless day became starless night
As they fought back the chill and mourned their plight.

A land once called holy, now only ash.
One darkness must come for the other to pass.

Only once they were blind could they truly restart,
For broken eyes see into an empty heart.

They gasped when the light of the first dawn broke.
At the heart of desolation lies a glimmer of hope.

This poem is directly inspired by the accounts in the Book of Mormon that describe three days of darkness that came over the land prior to Christ’s coming. However, in a broader sense the verses also are intended to express the concept of repentance and redemption, and of finding hope and truth while surrounded by darkness.