Poem: and when that morning comes

[ 3 ] Comments

by James Goldberg

when elijah abel raises brigham young from the dead
he’ll put his perfect black hands on that old prophet’s head
he’ll call out in jesus’ name for those bleached bones to walk
when he walks to brigham’s grave and finally rolls aside the rock

for the master of the priesthood said the first would be the last
and then all would be forgiven what they’d done in the past

photo by: vxla

About James Goldberg

James Goldberg's family is Jewish on one side, Sikh on the other, and Mormon in the middle. Goldberg co-edits the Everyday Mormon Writer literary website, teaches composition and creative writing courses at BYU, and blogs at Mormon Midrashim. His debut novel, The Five Books of Jesus, was published in September 2012.

3 Responses to Poem: and when that morning comes

  1. Bonnie says:

    I love the bold yearning of negro spirituals. I wish we sang some of them sometimes in sacrament meetings. This is a fun piece, with its messy last first first last views. All the questions! How is Brigham to be resurrected, in the court of public opinion, physically – will it be the submissive Elijah who does that, and what does that mean for our understanding of how apparent injustices are divinely rectified? How has Elijah been perfected (or is he still being?) and how is that playing out before our eyes now? And what about that honesty of stripping those conventions? Is our proper piety hiding from us the visceral truth of resurrection and divine justice? When it is finished and the heavens roll together as a scroll, ultimately Elijah and Brigham stand together, but we watch now, rocking back and forth to the strain. Great piece, James!

    • Becca says:

      Oh! What fun it would be to sing more “gospel” type music in sacrament meeting. Hmm… that could be a fun stake music fireside! Now you’ve got my gears turning.

      Any thoughts on putting this poem to music, James?

  2. Paul says:

    There is so much richness in this short poem; thanks, James! The double irony of Elijah’s having been the first black elder & seventy in the early church, and his having worked as a mortician in Nauvoo both add to the texture of this piece.
    And, what Bonnie said. :-)

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