The Touch of the Master’s Hand
Some time ago, I read a poem called “The Touch of the Master’s Hand” (by Mary Brooks Welch) and absolutely loved it. It’s the story of an old violin which comes up for auction, and which nobody has any interest in because of the terrible state it’s in. The auctioneer is ready to sell off the violin for a dollar … till an old man comes forward and plays it. When the beautiful music fades, the auctioneer holds up the item and calls once again for bids. This time, however, the bidding starts at a thousand dollars. Something considered worthless is turned into something valuable, all because of the touch of a master’s hand.
The Christian parallels are obvious: no matter how little we think of ourselves, or how little society thinks of us, God our Master can see beyond that to the potential beneath, and it just takes the touch the Master’s hand to transform a life that’s going nowhere into a life of purpose and meaning.
I’ve been trying hard since I first read the poem to find something online which contains the words to the poem, and which is legally posted, so that I can link to it. Today, I finally found it. The poem was turned into a short inspirational film by a filmmaker Tom Christensen, and the film was produced by Vision Video, an arm of Gateway Films. Available online at https://www.visionvideo.com/pdf/TouchOfMHGuide.pdf is an online guide to the video, which includes the words to the poem at the end of it.
The poem has, by the way, also been turned into song by a number of different musicians, and a really nice version has been released by Wayne Watson. It’s available in his CD How Time Flies.
Photograph of old violin by David Niblack