Earlier today I received and email from a man who checks this blog regularly and who has made very kind comments on the site and privately. He was bringing to my attention a poem called “The Touch of The Master’s Hand” and I can see why. It’s an excellent poem. I was a bit surprised though since it’s about the only “recitation” I do and I’ve used it many times in church and other places. I learned it as a small boy from my uncle Joe Shannon, R.I.P. who also used to recite it. I was surprised it’s not on the blog and did a search to discover it’s not. I remember including it before on an older website I tried to do some work on many years ago and must have thought it was here as well. Anyway, now is as good a time as any to include it! I searched and found the file I had on the computer (the original page on the older website) so will include it here with an older photograph of Joe, God rest him.
‘Twas battered and scarred, and the auctioneer
Thought it was scarcely worth while
To waste much time on the old violin,
But held it up with a smile.
“What am I bid, good folks,” he cried,
“Who’ll start the bidding for me?”
“A pound, a pound,” who’ll make it two?
“Two pounds, and who’ll make it three?
“Three pounds, once; three pounds 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 up all of its strings,
He played a melody, pure and sweet
As sweet as angel sings.
The music ceased, and the auctioneer,
With a voice that was quiet and low,
Said: “What am I bid for this old violin?”
As he held it up with the bow.
“A thousand pounds, 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 the worth?”
the man replied;
“’twas the touch of a master’s hand.”
And many a man with a 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’s wrought
By the touch of the Master’s hand
(Thanks Roger for reminding me about this – I’m glad to include it now ….)