Back to Manger and Thorn
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“Back to Manger and Thorn,” Ensign, Apr. 1985, 7

Back to Manger and Thorn

The sacred book is here, I said,

Let learn who will—

Following on the ancient page

His sandled imprint

On the dusty ways of Nazareth

To that last hill of Olives.

I watch the purple flow as ewers fill

With wine transmuted,

From the windy shore witness the wave

Surrender to His will,

And from the silence which is death,

A cease of tears, at Nain—

Return of pulsing breath.

But beauty and bread of the world

Housed with me

And doubt, an often present guest,

Tempted me far from the hills of Ephraim

From the lilied fields

From the songs of David

To faith as frail

As mist on the mountain,

Brief as a circling of gulls

At the sea’s edge.

I have come back,

Back to manger and thorn,

Shielding the light

From the lamp of commandment

To shepherd me home,

Humbled by seasons that fled

Without harvest,

Chastened at last

By the doubt that betrayed me.

Lord, gather me

Into the net of Thy nearness

That I too may touch

The hem of Thy garment,

And let there be calming

Of wind and of water

That I may walk firmly

The wave of Thy word.