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.
Read more →
2  

 

Ritapayne8 - As a sub minister, my father read this in church when I was aprox. 11 or 12 years old.  I am now 64.  This poem has stayed with me throughout my entire life.  It applys to those who are con's, drug addicted, mentally ill and all of us who have come short of the glory of God.  It is so very dear to me and always will be.  God bless her for the blessing she gave me through this poem.  It has helped me deal with persons I would not be able to understand much less deal with my whole life.  I wish I could tell her myself how dear it is to me.   R.C. Payne
on Sep 27 2014 01:37 AM   x  edit
Read more →
- From guest Annie Holaway (contact)
I came across the picture of The touch of The Masters Hand among my son's belongings when we were dividing his household goods after he passed away last year. It caught my husbands eye, and we finally found the right spot for it in our dining room, and we cherish it dearly. I would be interested in knowing if there was a song of the same title. Our painting was done by Ken Brown.

(Folk singer Sally Rogers did record a version of this poem as a song; try a search for her website - Old Poetry Team)
on Jul 05 2010 05:03 AM   x  edit
Read more →

Comments from the archive

30.0k views   +list
Share it with your friends: 

Make comments, explore modern poetry.
Join today for free!

 Sign up with Facebook

Top poems List all »


Have you read these poets? List all »

More by Myra Brooks Welch

Loading...