I Can Still Hear Grandmother’s Visions

“I Can Still Hear Grandmother’s Visions,” Ensign, Mar. 1984, 56

I Can Still Hear Grandmother’s Visions

Eliza R. Snow Poetry Contest Winner First Place

I can still hear grandmother’s visions


back and forth

the floorboards and the rockerbands

curled in a perfect motion

her fingers in and out my braids

or needle-eye that got too small too soon

her finger-wrapped tapping

the pen-point

against the pages of her life

there in her lap

that made room for me

for the stories

of times past and times to come—I can hear them

rocking back and forth—visions

I called them that I cannot quite remember now

though I can still feel

their motion

rocking quickly like the sound of thread sewing

through the cloth of my grandmother’s life

stitching her truth to me—a common thread

good for seams and patches

winding itself

echoing through time kept to the beat of spindles

and treadles rocking

threading through candlelit nights and backbreaking labor

of children lost and raised,

lives painstakingly,

anciently woven and spun

cut and pieced and sewn the length of my identity

by grandmother’s dreams, by her stories

where women, looking for Light

and finding it

were clothed in the garments of God’s Holy Love

and bound to Him and to each other in Nauvoo,

in Council Bluffs, in a hundred other frontier places—

bound by a common thread, a gesture

passed mother to daughter, sister to sister, friend

to friend.

A pattern

worn into my life

by the constant heartbeat

rocking back and forth

of my grandmother’s visions.