Tuesday, March 28, 2017

"Grandfather Shadrach"

"Grandfather Shadrach", poem by Vilate R. McAllister.

 (This poem was given at the Roundy Family Reunion held July 22nd, 1947 in Salt Lake City)

Grandfather Shadrach One hundred years have rolled away,
Grandfather Shadrach, since that day
That you and the members of that brave band
First set your feet on this barren land.
You came in advance of Brigham Young.‘‘ere that famous phrase had rolled from his tongue,
And we learn you engaged in a plowing race!
How did you know “This was the place?”
How did you feel, when you first beheld
This desert valley, all sagebrush-filled?
And stretching out there in the summer sun, without even a tree-oh yes, just one!
Did it look like a haven, a promised land?
Did it fit with the future that you had planned for your sons and daughters, and theirs sons, too?
Or did that desolation that met your view,
Shake for a moment your new-found faith
In the Prophet you’d guarded before his death?
In the gospel message that you had heard?
In the leader, Brigham’s promised word?
I look in the eyes of your pictured face,
At the character lines that the wrinkles trace,
And I see there a vision and depth of soul
That could see past these things to a farther goal.
Courage and faith are written there,
And determination, and power to share
In the labor and hardships that must be made.
And I’m sure you were dauntless and unafraid.
They recognized your sterling worth,
Those leaders who gave our gospel birth:
Aid to the prophet, his body-guard, friend, he gave you his trust to the very end.
And proven and tried, Brigham honored you, too,
With responsibilities placed on you.
Captain of fifty, high council-man,
A leader among your fellowman,
A leader, a servant, a friend to all,
With valiance and courage you answered each call,
You plowed and planted, and builded and schemed,
And you served your fellows, and you prayed, and dreamed,
And you conquered the desert with sweat and toil,
And an Eden sprang from the barren soil
An Eden that most of us now call home,
And that beckons us back, where’er we may roam.
Grandfather Shadrach, could you be near,
And see your posterity gathered here,
As you looked us over, how would you feel?
I can’t help but wonder what thoughts would steal
Into your mind. Would you feel a joy
As you looked at each person, each girl and boy,
Each man and woman that are your seed?
I think you would. You’d rejoice, indeed,
To see this assemblage gathered here, To honor you, and your name revere.
And perhaps you’d say, “here is my reward
For my years of labor and toil so hard,
For my faith and courage, and vision true.”
Yes, Grandfather Shadrach, I think that you
Would be proud of us, as we are of you.

by Vilate R. McAllister

[Boxes full of family history are such a blessing. This poem was among my grandmother Laura's things, long lost in a basement. She died in 1970 and I found the box in about 1997, ten years after her son my father had died. My mother said I could have it if I was interested. This box has been a great blessing to me and my family history. Lark]

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