Solstice*

Came Joseph’s son into the winter’s night
When earth had turned its furthest from the light;
When darkness had o’ercrept the bounds of day

Into men’s souls. But coals of yesterday
Still glow, as Lucy stirs them to stay warm.
She wraps her son in wool and love—no harm
Shall him befall. No harm, not for awhile.

There’s time enough to coo and grab and smile
And make first faltering steps, then walk upright.
To take infant delight in ways that might
To those less wise, more learned, futile seem:

To grasp the shafts of sun that freely stream
In ribbons through the leaves and light the dust.
To clutch fistfuls of light with perfect trust.
Although to kill that light his life was shed,

The fire rekindled in men’s hearts shall spread
And turn the world once more unto the Son.
For Brother Joseph’s work shall not be done
Until that perfect summer’s day of light.

*Joseph Smith was born December 23, 1805, at the time of the winter solstice; he was martyred June 27, 1844, at the time of the summer solstice.

A Sonnet by Michelangelo

Christ on the Cross by Michelangelo

 

The course of my life has already reached,

Across a stormy sea and in a fragile ship,

The common port, where we must give

An account of our every evil act or good deed.

 

The impassioned fantasy, which made

Art an idol and Lord over me,

Was, I now realize, full of error,

Like all else that men desire against their will.

 

What will become of my amorous thoughts, once so vain and gay,

Now that I draw near to my double death?

Of one death I am certain, and the other threatens me.

 

There is no painting nor sculpture now which quiets

The soul turned toward that divine Love

Which on the cross opened to take us in Its arms.

The Renaissance Reader, ed. by Bondanella & Musa published by Meridian