-Eva Willes Wangsgaard
1893 - 1967
Eva Willes Wangsgaard
Eva Willes Wangsgaard was named Eva Wanda Willes, daughter of Lyman Benjamin Willes and Sarah Ann Munns. She was born in Lehi, Utah Cty, Utah on 3 January 1893 and was one of ten children. I was not able to find many details about Eva, but it is apparent that her family were members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, commonly known as the Mormon church. While polygamy is not espoused by the Mormons of today, there is some evidence in the records that Eva's grandfather, Ira Jones Willes, had more than one wife in the early 1800's, a time when this practice was accepted. Eva was also of the Mormon faith and several of her poems appear in their registry as having been published in church-related publications.
Eva married David Orson Wangsgaard and the couple continued to reside in Utah, primarily at addresses in Weber County. They had three children; Ford Dee Wangsgaard (born 1914 and known as Dee), Reid Eldo Wangsgaard (1916) and Genee Wangsgaard (1918). Her children would eventually provide Eva and her husband with many grandchildren and many more great-grandchildren.
Eva published Within the Root, the book that I have in my collection, in 1949 when she was about 56 years old, but she also produced four other titles; Singing Hearts in 1935, Down this Road with David O. McKay in 1940, After the Blossoming in 1946, and Shape of Earth in 1959. My copy is inscribed "To Paul and Barbara with a hearty thank-you for a pleasant visit in Norfolk. affectionately, Eva W. Wangsgaard".
Eva passed away on 17 April 1967 in Logan, Utah.
*Many thanks to Richard Hutchison, Eva's great-grandson, for the information he provided for Eva's page.
Mormon Temple, Utah
Within the Root
by Eva Willes Wangsgaard
Too Frail A Lute
Scene in Blue
If I could hold you in my arms again,
I'd have no need of sun or moon or stars,
Such lesser lights are meant for common men
And you and I would walk the luminous bars
Of everlasting morning. Should I wake
To feel again your shoulder firm and strong
Against my cheek, my heart would all but break—
Too frail a lute to bear so grand a song.
If I could feel your kiss upon my throat
Or catch familiar love themes in my ear,
Bluebirds would sing and apple blossoms float
Above a hedge of roses all the year;
And grief would be a dull, discarded feather
Lying unruffled in the summer weather.
These will remain when mallards all have flown:
Bold, unleafed branches sketched in charry blue
Enmeshed across a sky of lighter tone
Where little rhinestone stars come twinkling through;
The barn and cottage, purple silhouettes,
Against the snow made azure by the dark;
And pinetrees, many-tiered, like minarets,
Star-pinnacled in winter's lowered arc,
These will remain — and how much more than these!
The tenuous roots beneath the glittering crust,
The hooded buds that knot the barren trees,
And hidden cones and seeds that hold in trust
Enough of life to make a million springs,
Needing but faith in these and northing wings.
A Summer Day
I'd save one day forever if I could:
The sky was blue as hyacinths which bent
Their stars above the marshes near a wood
Where cattle browsed, releasing spearmint scent.
A flock of blackbirds found a willow tree,
Their bodies ebon leaves on willow lace;
The children left their play and came to me,
And every minnow found a shadowed place.
Then suddenly the black leaves burst in song;
Soprano arias and choral parts
Wove such an opera as can belong
Only to open air and grateful hearts
Bursting with summer and the joy it yields
Over the luscious, mellowing barley fields.
If I could hold you in my arms again,
Beaten forever by a white-toothed flail;
To wait, in seeming changelessness, through grief
The salty hammers swung on every gale.
I know, too, how it feels to be a plover
Lost on a cold and wave-belabored beach,
Bewildered, weary, waiting for a lover
Sucked by the sea forever out of reach.
No part of sun that filled the azure noon
Survives from yesterday to warm tomorrow;
No galaxy, no planet set too soon,
Can prick the fog that settles over sorrow.
But some day when my grief has spent its pain
A ray will strike a beachhead now unknown
And, sorrow-wise, my heart renewed will gain
The strength to walk in dignity alone.
They Know Happiness
Two springtimes in one year were mine,
The year that I went South in March
And watched the wild wisteria vines
Hang amethysts on every arch.
Camellias lavish in corsage
Bedecked my shoulder every day;
Azaleas' purple-red barrage
Was loud on road and garden way.
Then I returned to lilac scent,
To blossoming apricot and cherry,
To paths where tulip goblets bent
And splashed the rocks with porty and sherry,
And bluebells caroled doubly clear
The second time to greet one year.
No day is ever quite alone,
For every transient moment borrows
From one behind and one before.
Each day has something of its own
Made bright by hopes of its tomorrows
With yesterday locked in its core.
And they know happiness who keep
Some moment that the heart may treasure
From every day as dusk comes down,
Who say their prayers before they sleep
With spirits lifted toward the pleasure
Of sunlight on a new day's crown.