Back to Manger and Thorn

    “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.