Seeing our world through words

The moon sits over the Taylor building on a bright, clear morning. Photo credit: Katie Card

As fall collapses into winter, BYU-Idaho student poets take notes from the colors and scenes of the volatile, beautiful world around them. Through their writing, they hold a mirror up to the scenery and reflect themes of loss, love and life.

A small tree with most of its leaves gone stands out among a fall forest, with a mountain in the background.
Grand Teton National Park is only one place to see the changing palette of fall near Rexburg. Photo credit: Katie Card

1. thinking of you on a rainy sunday
Kaedon Apezteguia, junior studying computer science
I wrote this poem after walking to church on campus on a rainy Sunday. Nature imagery is good because it’s easy to relate things in the natural world to your inner emotional world.”

a slow walk suits this day,
meandering petrichor aura,
puddlesky deep as your eyes.
i stopped to stand in the middle of it
and delivered a silent soliloquy to the dew and the concrete,
grey suit-coat like gravity to the rain.
the hollow sky
the flowers, pinpricks of lifeblood in the square, leaning toward me, an entirely captive audience
in a world that is only me and my hands outstretched.
i turn – once, twice, then i step forward,
a carefree monarch
abandoning paracosm
i have brought this world to you
empyrean roses inside my heart,
plucked from a cold 11 AM drizzle.

A tree seen from the second floor of Windsor Manor apartments. It is missing half its leaves, but the ones left are bright yellow/orange.
Trees across Rexburg blaze with fall colors, like this tree outside the Windsor Manor apartments. Photo credit: Katie Card

2. Autumn Embers

Daniel Spaulding, sophomore studying history
“This poem is about seeing beauty and depression in the nature around me, what’s really underneath. To me, a poem is a small puzzle piece to the picture of life and a key to time itself. We just need to see how they fit.”

Check out more of Spaulding’s writing on his website.

As the sun makes leaves breathe and trees kiss me
I will hide in the maze of bark they offer freely

Flames rage in autumn ruby leaves bewitches
Glimmering embers, I scoop them up like riches

A latching shadow that mimics me on the emerald grass
But only the imitation I give public places that harass

A sickly soul with a healthy body
Mirrors the oak with a termite’s hobby

I make haste slowly in the meadow’s apricity
Night welcomes without the mind’s atrocity

I do not fear the night
Here pains roll loose, not tight

The sinking dawn’s rain
And moon shivering flame
With me in sleep will be at peace again

The Taylor Building sticks up into a clear blue sky. The moon is small but visible over the tallest spire. Trees border the image.
The moon sits over the Taylor building on a bright, clear morning. Photo credit: Katie Card

3. Taylor at nine

Lauren Wadas, a senior studying English
More of Wadas’ work can be found on her Instagram.

I brace myself against the incline of the wind. The chill of newborn air. Its waves roll off the wake of death in simmering summer’s sultry Night. I revel in the reinvention.

I bow my head against its insistence, soft shards carding through the half-grown remnants of my summer buzz. A not-so-distant God reminds us of its presence with sunlight kisses. The torrent of the wind compliments the peace of another miraculous morning.

On the left, a sign reading Jacob Spori Building stands covered in a dusting of snow. The grass around it is covered in snow and scattered leaves. Two trees are in the background on the right.
Fall and winter clash as burnt yellow leaves decorate a carpet of snow outside the Spori building. Photo credit: Katie Card

4. 10/31/2020 it feels like spring

Katie Card, a senior studying communication
“I wrote this last year, as the title suggests, at the end of October. Being from Oregon, winter is very cloudy and a bit gloomy for months. Blooming daffodils and a clear sky have always been the biggest sign of spring to me. I love fall and winter, but I also appreciate those days when the weather seems to take a break and reminds me of the future.”

The day is invisibly blue, the empty sky embracing of all possibilities
I wish I could stay in this moment
Breathing as deeply as possible
Gulping down air as I walk
Like without its sharp chill in my lungs to ground me
I’d drown in the openness of it all
Like the pink cheeks and too-thin coats of encroaching winter are my only saviors

These days the wind won’t stop crying and the nights just get colder
But it feels like spring today
Like the daffodils are only days away from blooming
Like the world is reopening
And each clear day rings fragile yet everlasting

It feels like spring today
And today, that is enough

A close up on branches of a bare tree with red berries covered in snow. Other identical trees are visible in the background.
After an unexpected night of snow, trees outside the Spori building are covered in white. Photo credit: Katie Card

5. Untitled

Rachel Welker, a senior studying English
“Rattled bones and shaky souls are a common feeling for me, especially late at night. Skin crawling from rubbing against its partner limb, that’s the worst of it. This poem focuses on these experiences and how control can sometimes be regained.

Winter in Rexburg hits you in the face. You know it’s coming, but it’s hard to pinpoint when. By the time the snow has first fallen, it feels like you’re in a blizzard already. That’s what anxiety attacks are like for me: They come slowly through small triggers and symptoms, and by the time I realize I’m anxious, it’s too late to prepare or prevent.”

My soul shakes when the day is done quaking, resigning to a too quiet night
I hear the rattle of bones in hollow skin
The organs sputtering to keep functioning
Shaky limbs and too much touch
My soul shakes when the nighttime comes.

Splatters of heartbeats spike with each word I write
I can’t lie still in the darkness; I cannot sleep in the light
Too much contact with items, with myself
Sheets, pajamas, blankets, my skin, it’s all too much for now
Each typed reminder heightens the anxiety that happens when my soul starts to shake

Deep breaths, deep breathing. 4-7-8, 4-4-4
In, hold, out. In, hold, out.
They don’t work.
I am suffocating when I cannot breathe even if it’s to make me stop suffocating.
Asphyxiation is the most anxious way to go.

Losing control over lungs that have served you every other moment of your life
Heart rates firing up the engines, ready to race to the flat finish line
Weakened thoughts, weakened urges, the shaking soul overtakes it all
Instinctual need to fight and to breathe, but you haven’t retained control
Panic flurries like a blizzard your chest: icy, blinding, dead

Winter comes like nighttime. Too slow and all at once.
Leaves haven’t changed on East 2nd South, but give it a week and they’ll be covered in snow.
Anxiety builds so subtly. The panic develops like a second self.
But the buildup is quiet, is faint, and then you’re immune to all help

I never notice it until it’s too late to prevent, too late to regain control.
My soul starts to shake—isn’t it always shaking? Isn’t it always on edge?—and I don’t even notice when
Stomach and diaphragm breathing, heaving my chest up and down?
Those don’t help. Those won’t fix this.
It’s easier to let go to this scrupulous torture than ever have anything help

Sure, the coping mechanisms and quiet places in my mind are supposed to relax my soul
But when a person imbued with no power starts to shake, there’s no room there for control
Peace hits, or a semblance of it, as the words pour from my hands
Slower heart rate, slower breathing, less gasping for air,
Less tousled hair and rattled bones
It’s almost as if I can soothe myself

Babies learn to self-soothe when they are still young
I wonder why I never learned that
I can quiet my cries, quiet my heart, but still, my soul shakes at night

There’s too much trauma to unpack that suitcase
This focus is on symptoms, not the source
I can tell myself anything I want to hear,
Like one day my soul will stay calm, but I know that these balmy words mean nothing at all

I can take power one day. One day I will take control.
Until then I try to breathe normally.

Until then I wait for my shaking soul.