• Archkeeper

Excerpts from the First Tamarian-Mormon Dictionary

by James Goldberg


The coolest toy I ever had as a kid (under certain, highly subjective uses of the term “cool”) was a Star Trek action figure of Captain Dathon. Dathon appears in only one episode of Star Trek: the Next Generation—but oh, what an episode it is. That episode, “Darmok,” features the Tamarians, a race of aliens who communicate entirely in allusions.  Captain Dathon is a young Mormon poet’s ultimate role model because for him the sacred stories of the past contain everything. They are a Urim and Thummim: all experience can be translated through them. 


I have been chasing the Tamarian legacy for years. I can hardly believe it only recently occurred to me to write a Tamarian-Mormon dictionary in poetic form. 

Excerpts from the First Tamarian-Mormon Dictionary

I. 

Darmok on the ocean: 

Moroni, as he wanders 

Jalad on the ocean: 

Joseph, after the grove 

Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra: 

Moroni and Joseph at Cumorah 

Sokath. His eyes uncovered: 

Gazelem, out of darkness

Shaka. When the walls fell: 

Oliver, his mouth closed

II. 

Mirab, his sails unfurled: 

Alma in the wilderness.  The priests behind. 

Uzani, his army with fists open: 

Antipas and Helaman at Antiparah.

Uzani, his army with fists closed:

Helaman and his sons, their march turned. 

Kiazi’s children. Their faces wet: 

Coriantumr, stumbling to Zarahemla

III. 

Chenza at court, the court of silence:

Van Buren in Washington, your cause just.

Zima at Anzo. Zima and Bakor: 

Moroni and Pahoran, when Zarahemla fell. 

Kailash. When it rises: 

The plates at Cumorah. Sealed beneath the ground.