Hot in the heights of blazing blue that arched
From known to new above them there, the sun
Burned incandescent, glittered, shimmered, parched
Soft lips and tender flesh, and soaked homespun
With body juices, left skin hard on bone
As leather, supple still, but tough and strong.
Steps stitching prairie sod to mountain stone,
They knew refiner’s fire all day long:
Each day a trial of faith, each night a pause
To gather strength, find courage for the task
Of day-long dedication to the cause
That drew from them all anyone could ask.
Some died, but most grew leather-strong and tough,
Gave all they had to give, It was enough.
Beyond Our Works and Days
Thy word determining
beyond our works and days,
what should we rather sing
than thee, Lord, and thy ways?
Softer the rose and gold
cloud at each close of day;
no fit place for an old
head that is white or gray.
Sharper each whiter hill
against each grayer dawn;
keener each morning chill
that prophesies the sun.
Meet death, not facing west,
but clear in orient light.
Look, not for dusk or rest,
but work in God’s own sight.
The end we must endure
begins; we sing thy praise:
thy word alone is sure
to crown our works and days.