With my father (2004)
My brother Sam read this poem at my father’s funeral today. I wasn’t there. But I can imagine it. I bet he choked up – like our Daddy.
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 . . ."
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 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 now am I bid for this old violin?"
As he held it aloft with its' bow.
"One thousand, one thousand, Do I hear two?"
"Two thousand, Who makes it three?"
"Three thousand once, three thousand twice,
Going and gone", said he.
The audience cheered,
But some of them cried,
"We just don't understand."
"What changed its' worth?"
Swift came the reply.
"The Touch of the Masters 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.
- by Myra B. Welch (1877-1959)