St. Matthew on a Midsummer Night
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“St. Matthew on a Midsummer Night,” Ensign, July 1990, 68

St. Matthew on a Midsummer Night

First Place

A shadow that comes, whenever,

spreads more than shade

on any town, if the town disappears,

or seems to, in a roll

of earth between sun and moon,

when light is lost, slice by slice.

In such darkness I felt like fleeing

into mountains or other holy places,

but my cat, a good judge of calamity,

looked down, sensing no great change,

seeing no lightning. But suppose

two women are working in a field.

Suppose they are friends, gathering

grain by the glow of a lamp

when the skies darken and flame.

Suppose in some state of truth

elusive and clear as eclipse

they hear the crash of stars.

Suppose what eternity promised has come,

and yet both women are lifted up,

can lead one another on,

carrying their baskets of grain,

the good flavor of their earth,

past other fields waving and growing,

past trees grasping rain,

past mountains holding sound,

past spills of sun and shade

from a moon both new and full.