Guest poem sent in by Frank O'Shea
(Poem #1199) The Touch Of The Master's Hand
'Twas battered and scarred, and the auctioneer Thought it scarcely worth his while To waste much time on the old violin, But held it up with a smile. "What am I bidden, good folks," he cried, "Who'll start the bidding for me?" "A dollar, a dollar. Then two! Only two? Two dollars, and who'll make it three?" "Three dollars, once; three dollars, twice; Going for three..." But no, From the room, far back, a grey-haired man Came forward and picked up the bow; Then wiping the dust from the old violin, And tightening the loosened strings, He played a melody pure and sweet, As a caroling angel sings. The music ceased, and the auctioneer, With a voice that was quiet and low, Said: "What am I bid for the old violin?" And he held it up with the bow. "A thousand dollars, and who'll make it two? Two thousand! And who'll make it three? Three thousand, once; three thousand, twice, And going and gone," said he. The people cheered, but some of them cried, "We do not quite understand. What changed its worth?" Swift came the reply: "The touch of the Master's hand." And many a man with life out of tune, And battered and scarred with sin, Is auctioned cheap to the thoughtless crowd Much like the old violin. A "mess of pottage," a glass of wine, A game -- and he travels on. He is "going" once, and "going" twice, He's "going" and almost "gone." But the Master comes, and the foolish crowd Never can quite understand The worth of a soul and the change that is wrought By the touch of the Master's hand.
Note: "mess of pottage" is a Biblical reference - see http://www.m-w.com/wftw/02apr/041702.htm for example. Now that you are running some "spiritual" poems, here is an old favourite. I don't know if you could get away with this kind of poem any more these days, but come on, admit it, it does bring a little lump to the throat. I wonder if I should be ashamed to admit that I like it. I have no idea who the author is, though I presume she is American. Frank O'Shea [Martin adds] What I find sad is not just that this sort of poetry is falling out of vogue, but that people really *are*, as Frank half-jokingly suggests, ashamed to admit that they like it. Somehow, 'taste' and 'sophistication' seem to have become equated with a kind of sneering cynicism whose popularity, I think, is attributable to the fact that it is far easier to *assume* than true taste is. Personally, I enjoyed today's poem (and similar ones like Adelaide Proctor's "The Lost Chord" [Poem #520], but with the definite consciousness that this was, somehow, a less-than-respectable opinion. Links: Couldn't find out much about Welch besides the poem, but here's a brief biographical note: http://www.teacher.com/lilly2.htm