Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Myra Brooks Welch

Myra Brooks Welch was a prolific poet who had three volumes of her poetry published by the Brethren Publishing House. Her faith and courageous optimism, as reflected in her poetry, are not shallow and untested phases of a life outlook. She achieved them despite - perhaps in part because of - circumstances that confined her to a wheel chair for twenty years. Writing out of what she knows as well as what she feels, she brought inspiration and courage to thousands.

All writers of verse aspire to create at least one song that will wing its way down through the years. A few succeed in so doing; a larger number must be content with lesser achievements. For Myra Brooks Welch that long-lasting poem was written in 1921 and published in the Gospel Messenger on February 26, 1921. It was accorded immediate popularity and quoted and widely reprinted, often as an anonymous production. Here for those younger ones unfamilar with Myra Brooks Welch is her poem: 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 gray-haired man

Came forward and picked up the bow;

Then, wiping the dust from the old violin,

And tightening the loose 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 a 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's wrought

By the touch of the Master's hand.

Source: The Touch of the Master's Hand, Myra Brooks Welch