Poetry Porch: Poetry


by John Foy

According to the Mormon literature,
some used to think that Cain was still around.
We have, at least, the account of Mr. Smoot,
a Mormon pioneer from Owenton
who had six wives and twenty-seven kids.
His letters talk about a Mormon man
named David Patten traveling in Tennessee
sometime in the year of 1834.
Smoot recounts that Patten, on a mule
proceeding down the road, chanced upon
“a remarkable man who represented himself
as being Cain.” The lot of this man, if it
could even be said to have been a man, was bleak.
He was naked, very tall, and covered with hair
as coarse and long and black as a horse’s tail.
To Patten’s inquiry, the man replied
that he hadn’t had a home for a thousand years
and wandered miserably about the earth.
He wanted to die, he said, but he could not,
and so he wanted to blight the souls of men.
Patten rebuked him in the name of Jesus Christ.
The man departed, carrying some twigs
and weeping as he went, toward a swamp.
He went in carefully among the pines
and wasn’t seen again in Tennessee.
As for David Patten, he got shot
in the Battle of Crooked River, in the bowels,
and they buried him in the corner of a field.
Smoot went on to prosper righteously.
He died in Provo, eighty years of age
and cursed by Cain from here to Kingdom Come.

Copyright © 2014 by John Foy.