Robert Kirkland Kernighan
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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