As Arrows in the Hand

"As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. 
Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: They shall not be ashamed, 
but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate."
Psalm 127:4-5

"The Army is coming, the battle draws nigh!
Make ready your weapons." The watchman did cry.
With great haste, the townsmen prepared their long bows,
Then gathered their tools to make their arrows.

One man and his friend sat by the fire
To make their arrows, then hoped to retire.

"I only make one" He said to his friend,
"And one it will be with every new trend.
I want it to win first place at the fair,
And in grandest beauty 'twill sail through the air."

"How nice." Friend replied. "I hope to make three,
At least strong enough to hit a large tree.
They also will look much nicer than one
When placed in the quiver -- I'm sure they'll have fun."

Not far away more men had gathered
To make their arrows and talk of great matters.

"I can not afford," One said to the rest,
"To paint all my arrows. For me two is best."
"Well, I shall make four." Another spoke up.
"Two blue and two pink; they'll fit with my stuff."

Then one man announced, "I don't have much time.
And, so they will turn out, I think three is fine."
"I'd really prefer not to make these at all."
One gentleman muttered. "I guess two I'll haul."

"You know war is coming." One wisely reminded.
"Make your arrows well, lest all become frightened."

"I would make much more." The first said again.
"But I have business, and time has an end.
For if I would make more arrows than this,
More time to devote I'd need, but I miss."

"I agree with you, sir," Another replied,
"Your motive is true, your problem is time.
If this were my trade I'd make more, too,
But this job is sideline, I'll make just a few."

Then, one who'd been silent slowly arose
And proclaimed his opinion about making arrows.

"You all are quite wrong! No soldier who's true
Would go face an army with arrows so few.
I'd dare say we must make arrows right quick,
And not stop until our bundle is thick."

The others all scorned as he speedily worked
To make just as many as fast as he could.
"The Enemy approaches and draws ever nigh!
Prepare your weapons, or prepare to die!"
In fear some arose and ran for the hills,
"Forget making arrows; we all will be killed!"

The baker laid down his arrows and said,
"More needful it is that I now make bread
To feed to the hungry, the weak and the poor
When battle begins and conflict is sore."

Then he passed a man still plowing his field.
"Are your arrows ready? Why do you yet till?"

"The time is not right." The man said to him.
"I'll make my good arrows when the war's at it's end.
For why should I waste such valuable things?
I fear they'd be stolen or damaged, you see."

Most men had now finished their shinny arrows
And thus hurried off to vocations they chose.

But off in a corner, alone from the crowd,
A faithful man worked, steady and sound.
He tenderly shaped each arrow with care
And thus they were sturdy with quality rare.

When others had ceased after making their few,
He dared not to halt, for war would come soon.
Nor yet did he haste in fear or in pride,
But skillfully worked as long as was time.

Though arrow-making was not his trade,
Preparing for war, these arrows he made.

"When will you be done," Folks often cried,
"And with your full quiver be satisfied?
You ought to enjoy the life that you have
Before there is war. Go play! Are you mad?

Our city needs help preparing for war--
Just put down your arrows; you can do so much more."

Yet ignoring their call and his own ambitions,
He went on making arrows, against their tradition.
"How can I with good go do as I please
When battle approaches?" He spoke to the breeze.
"Sound the alarm! The war has arrived!
Men, take your arrows and go to the fight!"

All over the town men ran to retrieve
Their bows and their arrows and then take their leave
To go to the fight and do what they could
To guard their city from the enemy's flood.

They all shot their arrows; some shot but one,
Some shot a few more, and soon all were gone.

A few hit their mark, but they were a few.
"Is your quiver empty? Good job! Mine is too."
The men praised each other for how well they fought;
Success was applauded by how quick the first shot.

"That quiver's so heavy with those arrows of mine!
I aimed at the target, I hope they will find."
"A burden, indeed, has been lifted today.
Oh, what a struggle, those sticks were, to make!"

"Ah, now life can continue for those arrows are gone.
I'm a hero in battle for my arrow is on!"

But, suddenly, they trembled to know,
The enemy advanced! They weren't up for a show.
True, few had been wounded by an arrow or two,
But this was a war, not "me against you"

"Let's fight!" came the call, but the arrows were gone.
"We've already shot, you mean we press on?!"
"The enemy is coming to destroy all our homes!
Yes, we must still fight, or we're lost to the foe."

Then, one man appeared with his quiver full.
"See what I told you! You all were quite fools
To quit with so few when this is a war,
So I've come to aid, bringing much more."

But as he took aim, his arrows took flight.
The truth was revealed -- they weren't fashioned right.
He hadn't taken care to ensure quality,
But set out to make so many so quickly.

Meanwhile, quite hidden and crouching low,
An archer was slowly pulling back on his bow.

Set perfectly in place, an arrow prepared
To make it's first flight and pierce through the air.
Through the torrents of war, still on it would go,
Not resting until it reached the goal.

He shot, not a few, but one after the other
Of quality arrows he took from his quiver.
Long after the others had sent their last arrow
This man kept right on using his worn bow.

Though he, alone, could not cause the foe to resign,
He greatly hindered the enemy line.
The cry comes to us, "Prepare ye for war!
Make ready your weapons; we fight for the Lord!"

To certain, our King gives other orders
Which do not include that of an arrow.

But unto the rest is given the call
"Take up your bow, your arrows, and all!"

Copyright © 2013 Elisabeth Linzey 

1 comment:

  1. Josiah Pearrow4/04/2015

    It's amazing this truth can be found in rhyme,
    For it's greatly needed in this backward time.
    I did truly enjoy reading each line,
    though others will think it's a crime.
    The message is true, the rhyme is there,
    instead of living however, we are to take care.
    What more can be said about such inspiration?
    I think it's more like the Lord's manifestation.
    He proves himself to whoever will sacrifice,
    to him their entire being, their entire life!
    Thank you so very much for this beautiful poem.
    As one of God's children, I know he's saying "Amen!"
    I'm not thanking you for the making of the words,
    but for being a vessel through which God sends swords.
    Through humble preparation and holy lifestyle too,
    for that, and everything else I say, "THANK YOU!"