Robert Kirkland Kernighan

(25 April 1854 – 3 November 1926 / Ontario)

The Ass's Colt - Poem by Robert Kirkland Kernighan

Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting
upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass.' ST. MATTHBW xxi-s.

His tangled auburn locks

Lay damp on his sun-burned brow,
As he halted his team on the headland bare,

To tighten a nut on his plow.
I asked him who he was,

For my heart was touched, because
I 'd heard him sing like a woodland thing,

When it builds its nest of straws.
And he said as he handled the bolt,
' I 'm only an ass's colt
Unknown, despised I yet am prized
For I sometimes carry Jesus.'

He used his plow for a bench,

And sat him down like a king ;
In his hand he held his wrench,

Like a homely scepter thing ;
And, over his shoulder, I saw

That the furrow he turned was true
As straight as the rule of the plowman's school.

Then I looked in his eyes of blue,
For it gave my heart a jolt
When he said, ' I 'm an ass's colt.'
So my mind I bent to know what he meant
When he said that he carried Jesus.

His eyes were the eyes of an ox :

So patient, and big, and full ;
But the crisping hair was the tangled Blocks

That grow on the brows of a bull.
His tawny face had no lack of grace :

With thought and sadness lined ;
And a patient smile, every little while,

About his lips was twined.
So calm and quaint ! Was he sop or saint ?
Was he knave or dolt this ass's colt,
Who claimed that he carried Jesus ?

' Tho' rich, my Lord was poor, 'twould seem,

When he went up Sion's way.
Did he borry a rich man's splendid team,

Or hire a fine koo-pay ?
A question plain I ask o' you :

When he ventured in the hive
And went as King Did big Jehu

The Son of Nimshi drive?
No, no I 'm tolt 'twas an ass's colt
That day that carried Jesus.

' To-day he walked beside my plow :

With grief his eyes were dim ;
He tells me all His sorrows, now,

And I tell mine to him ;
And when his weary feet are sore,

His face is sad to see ;
And when he cannot walk no more

He sometimes cries to me
I take a-holt, like the ass's colt,

And gladly carry Jesus ? '

I went my way to haunts of men,

This question ringing clear :
Why wait his Second Coming, when,

Perhaps, my Lord is here ? '
As I believe this story quaint,

I '11 seek the thorny track,
And if my Lord is weak and faint,

I '11 bear him on my back.
They '11 call me dolt yet an ass's colt
Once carried Kingly Jesus.

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Poem Submitted: Saturday, May 12, 2012

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