Seeking to be transformed into the image of Jesus

Food for thought

It’s been a busy week so I want to share with you a poem that was first introduced to me by Valerie Hess when I had a class with her on the spiritual disciplines.  I came across it again this week.  Enjoy!

The Calf-Path by Sam Walter Foss
(public domain)

One day through the primeval wood                  A calf walked home as good calves should;

But made a trail all bent askew,                        A crooked trail as all calves do.

Since then three hundred years have fled,       And I infer the calf is dead.

But still he left behind his trail,                      And thereby hangs my moral tale.

The trail was taken up next day                       By a lone dog that passed that way;

And then a wise bell-wether sheep                   Pursued the trail o’er vale and steep,

And drew the flock behind him, too,                As good bell-wethers always do.

And from that day, o’er hill and glade,                        Through those old woods a path was made.

And many men wound in and out,                      And dodged and turned and bent about,

And uttered words of righteous wrath             Because ’twas such a crooked path;

But still they followed–do not laugh–              The first migrations of that calf,

And through this winding wood-way stalked     Because he wobbled when he walked.

This forest path became a lane                        That bent and turned and turned again;

This crooked lane became a road,                     Where many a poor horse with his load

Toiled on beneath the burning sun,                   And traveled some three miles in one.

And thus a century and a half                          They trod the footsteps of that calf.             

The years passed on in swiftness fleet,            The road became a village street;                    

And this, before men were aware,                    A city’s crowded thoroughfare.

And soon the central street was this                Of a renowned metropolis;                               

And men two centuries and a half                    Trod in the footsteps of that calf.                  

Each day a hundred thousand rout                   Followed this zigzag calf about                                   

And o’er his crooked journey went                   The traffic of a continent.                              

A hundred thousand men were led                    By one calf near three centuries dead.            

They followed still his crooked way.                 And lost one hundred years a day,                   

For thus such reverence is lent             To well-established precedent.                        

A moral lesson this might teach                       Were I ordained and called to preach;

For men are prone to go it blind                       Along the calf-paths of the mind,

And work away from sun to sun                        To do what other men have done.

They follow in the beaten track,                      And out and in, and forth and back,

And still their devious course pursue,               To keep the path that others do.

They keep the path a sacred groove,                Along which all their lives they move;

But how the wise old wood-gods laugh,             Who saw the first primeval calf.

And, many things this tale might teach–          but I am not ordained to preach.

 

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