From Cotton McGintey’s Rain Sermon to Boy Scout Troop 167 at Agassiz Meadows, High Uintas


This poem was a finalist in the 2022 Clinton F. Larson Poetry Contest, sponsored by BYU Studies.

Remember how rain drummed your tent
last night? And when you were outdoors,
how it wrapped you up? Brightened
every sniff of spruce and lightning-
sparked ozone. When we were boys
once, Merl and I were scrambling
along the north face of Bald Mountain
in those clouds clinging to rock.
Tingly-feeling, watched-over-like.
We got between two plains of clouds.
Then the lower cloud plain parted—
Willowcreek at our feet a mile below.
We dropped on down into those meadows
where avalanche rollouts had twisted
quaking aspens like pretzels, like Dr. Seuss
playing, tendrils of cloud curling over
and around us, wind spreading through meadow,
I thought, This breeze across the back of my neck—
the breath of God, Merl thinking the same.
Which we didn’t tell each other for years.
Well, just look at you boys, how you watch
meadow grass and overhanging spruce
for wind sign. Whatever we touched
that daysoaked us forever.


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