The shipyard painter, political activist and razor-sharp cartoonist Bob Starrett has just written a new book The Way I See It on his eventful life and times. Below we reprint one of his stories and review an essential read
“There is not one thing wanting in all the works of God’s hands to make Zion upon the Earth when the people conclude to make it.” (Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses/Volume Nine, Building up and Adornment of Zion, 1862:283)
In Utah’s chloride waste, you saw the millennial city
floating on the haze. No virtue in dalliance;
you disgorged the packs of the loaded mule trains
and staked out the ten-acre plots of Zion in high noon’s sunblaze glare.
The templed skyline rose, the fields of maize and hemp;
the diligent Saints did labour at the goodly work of God.
To the Gentiles – their whiskey, Saturdays, slaves;
to the Mormons, the industry of Deseret,
(interpreted, being the Honey Bee), and the sweetness thereof.
Think not of his error and weakness, his bizarrity in the flesh,
but man god-anointed in the sweat of his toiling,
the celestial city, built from American dirt:
in which every Saint will have dominion over a star; and every second year get a brand new car.
Steve Ely is a poet and writer from Yorkshire. His book of poems, Oswald's Book of Hours, will be published by Smokestack in February 2013. His novel, Ratmen is available from Blackheath Books. This poem is taken from Ely's unpublished work JerUSAlem.