to see some strange sight
this is crowning
plain and clear and sweet
spread upon the mountains
of generations

it is the right to receive calm—
to see the pattern
to be in tune
with the binding nature

once or twice in a thousand years
perhaps a dozen times
angels laughed
in time’s meridian
it is pure diamond truth
the man and the hour joined hands

Garden of Eden illustration

alongside the greatest verities
the place
the hour
the need
and the woman valiant
will either, with
simple, easy, pure words
teach no tongue
no mind
no heart
to fight manfully
do just that by giving
the great proclamation—

take this challenge:
universal, complete, all pervading
congealing on the right hand
and on the left
use every faculty and capacity
to make it intelligent
to be adopted
by the ancients

And it is now as it has always been
the hand from a quiet garden clasps
the hand on the great cornerstone
in perfect fellowship

Poet’s Notes:

The above cento poem is made up of phrases taken from five General Conference addresses by the late Elder Bruce R. McConkie:

  • The Mystery of Mormonism, October, 1979
  • The Ten Blessings of the Priesthood, October, 1977
  • Once or Twice in a Thousand Years, October, 1975
  • Be Valiant in the Fight of Faith, October, 1974
  • Upon Judea’s Plains, April, 1973

Centos are collage poetry. For a brief background and example, visit

Primary architectural image by Pixabay on  Secondary image, entitled Garden of Eden, from the New York Public Library Digital Collections.