How strange the story of the Sandal‑wood,
That grows in distant lands beyond the sea!
`Tis said this curious tree perfumes the axe
That lays it low, and from its riven heart
There flows a wondrous fragrance, sweet and rare,
Oft times to incense ground and powdered fine,
Its burning fills with languorous scent the room;
And yet, for centuries the tree might stand
But yield no perfume on the tropic air.
It needs must fall, its very heart be crushed,
The sweetness of its odours to reveal.
Dear Lord, O make me like the sandal‑wood,
O, may I pour Love’s fragrance on the hand
That wounds me so, and help me realize
Without a bruised and humbled heart I’d be
Unfitted for the Master Workman’s use!
As sandal‑wood oft cools the fettered brow,
Let me refresh and soothe the anguished mind;
When fires burn fiercest, may my presence be
Like sweetest incense on the evening breeze,
Or like God’s angel in Gethsemane,
To comfort, strengthen, calm, inspire and bless!
Poems of The Way