Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Song of the Blind Plowman

Hi friends. I got an email from Uncle Butch the other day, and he shared something with me that I wanted to pass along. He told me that this is a song he sang when he was in high school, for a musical competition. He couldn’t remember all the words, but he gave me enough so that I was able to find the whole song on the internet. Here are the lyrics:

Song of the Blind Plowman

Set my hands upon the plow,
My feet upon the sod.
Turn my face towards the east,
and praise be to God!

Ev’ry year the rains do fall,
the seeds they stir and spring;
Ev’ry year the spreading trees
shelter birds that sing.

From the shelter of your heart,
brother drive out sin.
Let the little birds of faith
come and nest therein

God has made His sun to shine
on both you and me;
God, who took away my eyes,
that my soul might see.

Those are beautiful lyrics, and the last two lines in particular are very poignant. There’s nothing like going blind, for opening your eyes. God is so good to us and he always knows just exactly what we need, even if we ourselves don’t know. In fact, it seems like we hardly ever know what is best for us.

I am reminded of a story Pastor Mike told us one Sunday. Mike grew up on a sheep farm and he was telling us how stupid sheep are; how they will blindly follow each other, getting themselves into all kinds of trouble. I can’t remember everything he said, but he really had us all laughing at his stories about the sheep. Of course, the moral of his story was that the sheep are fine as long as they are penned up and someone keeps an eye on them, but if they get out of the pen, they head straight for the alfalfa which is deadly poisonous to them.. The sheep don’t care though, they like the taste, so they eat it, and they die. We are a lot smarter than sheep, but we still go straight for the things that are harmful to us, regardless of the consequences.

While I was looking for the lyrics to "Song of the Blind Plowman" I also tried to find out who wrote the song, but I found conflicting information. The web page that had these lyrics named the author as Robert Coningsby Clarke, but I found another page that credited authorship to Marguerite Radclyffe-Hall. The sources that list Clarke seem a little more reliable to me, however, so I’m going with him.

Anyway, I found the lyrics here, and was pleasantly surprised to find a couple of links to actual recordings of the song. Most notably, there is one recording done by Paul Robeson who was a world renowned baritone vocalist until his death in 1976. It’s worth a listen.

Psalms 37:23 The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way.

Proverbs 16:9 A man's heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps.

Ezekiel 34:11-12 For thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I, even I, will both search my sheep, and seek them out. As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered; so will I seek out my sheep, and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day.


  1. God, who took away my eyes,
    that my soul might see.

    Although we are at times lost sheep, we never really see what we're supposed to, but take the sight away and our soul sees God for all that He is. He has a way of shining light for us all, (sighted and blind) so that we may all see the path we're to take.
    Nice post. And in time, you will see all there is to see. God has a plan!
    ILU! ~~joni~~

  2. Radclyffe Hall (famous for writing THE WELL OF LONELINESS, one of the first English novels to deal openly with lesbianism)' wrote the lyrics, and Clarke set them to music.