To quell the eager mob that swarms, don’t blink.
Unclasp your fingers from the dusty sill.
Receive the yank upon your gut and sink
through sulfur winds, alone yet blissful. Fill
your lungs full one last time, as rough stones rise
up past your face. Shoulder the violent earth.
Wish at a well as darnel crowds your eyes.
Upturn your brow, sleek and golden since birth.
Slip away deep in the skull ark your mother
prepared, while your draining face smiles at rods
of hollowed iron spitting fire. Brother,
poor wayfarer’s friend, Well done! say the Gods.
Your temple walls with Tishbite footprints blend.
Vanish in swirling dreams dreamt without end.
The above sonnet owes something to the late Truman G. Madsen and his 1978 discourse, “Joseph Smith Lecture 8: The Last Months and Martyrdom.” I was introduced to the full series of lectures, Joseph Smith the Prophet, by the missionary who trained me in New England. Notwithstanding my later journey into agnosticism, listening to Dr. Madsen’s lectures as a young missionary in Maine profoundly affected me. They endeared the prophet Joseph to me in a way I have never been able to shake.
Featured image from Wikimedia Commons.