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“Christina,” Ensign, Mar. 1974, 53


Second-Place Poem
1974 Relief Society-Ensign Writing Contest

Christina, Grandpa’s sister and his gauge

Of girl and womanhood throughout his years,

Left Aalborg’s streets to walk the restless deck

Of the stout Jessie Munn;

Measured the wagon ruts from Omaha

Through plain and mountain pass to valley floor,

And left for us no comment save a terse,

“They let me ride two afternoons—

I was too sick to walk.”

Gleaned in the fields of Sessions Settlement,

Teen hands beside her mother’s seamstress hands;

Could vouch for her own honesty in terms

Of stoic turning from a hoecake cooling

Upon a neighbor’s chair,

The cabin door ajar, and no one home …

A hoecake left intact when she had gone,

Still starving, and her errand incomplete.

Christina, proud to stand as second wife

To him her early blessing had foretold,

A husband like to Nathan, whose rebuke

And admonitions chided Israel’s king.

Christina weeping, and the dying words

The weary first wife speaks, “Don’t cry, Christina;

Don’t cry; we’ll be together soon again.”

These were her pride: the walk, the hoecake left,

The Nathan-mate, the dying first wife’s love.