THE EMPTY BOWL
I held the golden vessel of my soul
And prayed that God would fill it from on high.
Day after day the importuning cry
Grew stronger—grew, a heaven-accusing dole
Because no sacred waters laved my bowl.
’So full the fountain, Lord, wouldst Thou deny
The little needed for a soul’s supply?
I ask but this small portion of Thy whole.’
Then from the vast invisible Somewhere,
A voice, as one love-authorised by Him,
Spake, and the tumult of my heart was stilled.
’Who wants the waters must the bowl prepare;
Pour out the self, that chokes it to the brim,
But emptied vessels, from the source are filled.’
Is the goal distant, and troubled the road,
And the way long?
And heavy your load?
Then gird up your courage, and say ‘I am strong,’
And keep going.
Is the work weary, and endless the grind
And petty the pay?
Then brace up your mind
And say ‘Something better is coming my way,’
And keep doing.
Is the drink bitter life pours in your cup —
Is the taste gall?
Then smile and look up
And say ‘God is with me whatever befall,’
And keep trusting.
Is the heart heavy with hope long deferred,
And with prayers that seem vain?
Keep saying the word —
And that which you strive for you yet shall attain.
Just as I shape the purport of my thought,
Lord of the Universe, shape Thou my lot.
Let each ill thought that in my heart may be,
Mould circumstance and bring ill luck to me.
Until I weed the garden of my mind
From all that is unworthy and unkind,
Am I not master of my mind, dear Lord?
Then as I think, so must be my reward.
Who sows in weakness, cannot reap in strength,
That which we plant, we gather in at length.
Great God of Justice, be Thou just to me,
And as my thoughts, so let my future be.
Here in my cosy corner,
Before a blazing log,
I’m thinking of cold London
Wrapped in its killing fog;
And, like a shining beacon
Above the picture grim,
I see the London ‘Bobby,’
And sing my song for him.
I see his stalwart figure,
I see his kindly face,
I hear his helpful answer
At any hour or place.
For, though you seek some by-way
Long miles from his own beat,
He tells you all about it,
And how to find the street.
He looks like some bold Viking,
This king of earth’s police —
Yet in his voice lies feeling,
And in his eye lies peace;
He knows and does his duty —
(What higher praise is there?)
And London’s lords and paupers
Alike receive his care.