A pilgrim walking down Life’s path
Soon met another traveling there.
He was a stranger, all alone.
He said his name was Earthly Care.
He had a wealth of goods with him,
And in much finery was dressed.
The shabbily-garbed pilgrim asked
How such a man could be distressed.
“Ah,” sighed the man, “Look at the sky.
Look at the rivers, oceans, lakes.
It isn’t fair this price man pays
Just for a few careless mistakes.”
“Sin manifests itself in ways
So countless,” said the pilgrim then.
“Man cannot build himself a Heav’n —
His Tower of Babel falls again.”
“Nay,” said the stranger,” give him time.
And man will conquer — this I know.
The wisdom that in man abides
Will all these evils overthrow.”
“I fear not for these smog-filled skies.
Or for the poisoned land and sea”
The pilgrim sighed, “but for the souls
Of men who love iniquity.
Their way is known to God above,
And soon, in torment, they shall weep.
Shall they make Him a liar who said,
“That which ye sow, ye’ll also reap’?”
The stranger gazed with sympathy.
“Poor fool,” he said, “you read too much
The Word of God. A man should do things
As he wants. The Bible has become your crutch.”
“My crutch it is!” the pilgrim cried.
“It is the staff on which I lean.
Can man’s words comfort me as those
My Saviour spoke —Who washed me clean?
Nay if my God, for e’en one hour
Decreed that I alone should stand.
I’d fall, as helpless as a babe
That cannot grasp its Father’s hand.”
“Poor wretch,” the stranger said, dismayed.
“So filled with his own guilt and shame
He misses out on Life’s best gifts,
The wealth, the pleasure, and the fame.”
And so the two men parted ways,
The one soon vexed with earth’s affairs.
And problems of a dying world.
The other glad with Heaven’s cares.
“This piece originally was submitted for our last Literary Contest. “Antithesis” was given a first place award in the high school division. — Editor.