Bro. Martin Stead

As the Sun Rises

As darkness slowly rolls away,

As shifting shadows softly creep,

The new dawn is begun;

And rising out of deepest sleep,

Enlivened by the light of day,

I wake, and see the sun.

The early daybreak’s dawning beams

That rouse my newly-wakened sight,

Show things both strange and new;

But the return of blessed light

Means I must now shake off my dreams,

For work I have to do.

The simple tools that I must learn,

Now bent to my new master’s will,

Seem clumsy in my grip.

Can I attain a single skill?

A heavy task it seems to earn

My new apprenticeship.

I bring untutored youth and strength,

But these are all I have to bring

For tasks I have to face.

Now put away each childish thing,

For has the day sufficient length

To gain a craftsman’s place?

The Sun at its Meridian

The hour is noon; the sun stands high,

The stones are swimming in the heat,

And underneath the burning sky,

I see my task is half-complete.

The strip of shade is dark and small,

Along the footing of the wall.

Now as I pause, at this high time,

The mid-point of the working day,

I know I too am at my prime,

And ‘prentice hours have passed away.

I’ve reached the longed-for moment, when

I stand among the journeymen.

My youthful strength may soon be lost,

Increase of skill has been my gain,

Though some has come at heavy cost,

And I have paid the price of pain -

When sinews racked against the bone,

As I raised up some weighty stone.

In the swift hours of afternoon,

When shadows lengthen on the site,

Strengthen my arm, for all too soon

The sinking sun gives way to night:

Then guide my footsteps up the stair,

To meet my fellow craftsmen there.

As the Sun Sets

All glowing is the western sky,

The light is fading overhead;

The time has come at last when I

Must quit my task, and seek my bed.

Here are the stones I cut and dressed,

And here the courses I have laid;

I see where I have worked my best,

And all the errors I have made.

Yet now my working time is gone,

All my achievement seems so small;

I know that I have added on

So very little to the wall.

Foundations where I set my stone

Were laid by hands that were not mine,

And courses built upon my own

Will bring about the grand design.

But now my tools are put away.

Above me, golden stars appear.

As I depart, my work I lay

For judgement by the overseer

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