Sam Speaks
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“Sam Speaks,” Ensign, Sept. 1973, 30

Sam Speaks

We were city folk, born to ease—

My mother pouring delicate wine into thin cups,

Her eyes clear and warm,

Her olive skin translucent;

My sisters, generally bejeweled,

Their golden earrings jingling softly

As they walked (or rather slithered)

In silken sandals.

My brothers and I had gained our strength

From horsemanship and swordplay;

For there were others in our establishment

To guide the plough, to pluck the grapes from the vines

And trample out their purple juices,

And to drive the surly camels across the endless sands,

Though we handled the smooth silks

And smelled the pungent herbs

And counted the payment for them.

My father’s blue eyes were always somewhere else,

Yet I understand they had been sharp at trade

In his younger years.

Our city, Jerusalem, was home to me;

I loved its shady paths, its cobblestones,

Its gardens green with laurel

And bright with oleanders,

Its games and intrigue (which some called decadent),

Its sloe-eyed, quick-witted women,

And the temple atop a high hill

Over its spring of living water.

I say I loved it well,

But when my brother echoed my own feeling

That what our father said was true,

I gathered up our goods,

Climbed atop a dun-flecked camel,

And saw my whitish city for the last time

In the expectant light of early morning,

Its towers framed in our own palm trees;

I saluted it,

Then turned my face toward the desert

And never looked back.

(See 1 Ne. 1–7.)