Salt Lake City Poem Ending with a Line by Wordsworth

Written by  Jill McDonough

Above the Avenues, above the place
the Mormon pioneers first buried a child here,
now filled with apostles, presidents, the guy
who invented the roadometer on his way
to Zion. Above the grid where somebody buffs
the risen slabs of sidewalk every spring,
grinds them down for strollers, stocks the crosswalks
with five gallon buckets of day-glo flags.
Wave them. Don't get smacked into the afterlife,
telestial, terrestrial, celestial kingdom, on the streets
that Joseph Smith imagined, Brigham Young
made wide enough for a team of four oxen and
a covered wagon to turn around. Now SUVs
glint up and down the grid from here, the plain
Young said "Is The Right Place." This. In all
initial caps. That's just how he talked.
Power of place, of temple, tabernacle,
statehouse, the coiled library all plotted out.
Hive of industry, family, still making the desert
bloom. Deseret: edge of the Great Basin,
heart of the country. More American than thou,
and more prepared: grain silos, canneries.
From high up on the Twin Peaks the vista spills
out southward: Draper, Lehi, Nephi, Moroni,
each with a beautiful temple, cake slice, flaked
off this city by a hill. This Is The Right Place
and all that mighty heart is lying still!

Additional Info

  • Location: The Avenues, Salt Lake City, UT