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A 40-year search: Complete

A couple of weeks ago, I posted an entry about Grace Noll Crowell, and mentioned that my interest in her had been spurred by a poem that I first read in my high school hymnal, "A Hungry Man is At My Door."

I've been wanting to find that poem for decades. The advent of the Internet led me to a reference in the index of World Call Magazine, the international magazine for Disciples of Christ - it was published in that periodical in September of 1933.

More digging led me to the Disciples of Christ Historical Society, who - as it turns out - had an archive of that magazine. A phone call on Monday led me to a most pleasant archivist who promised to seek out the issue I needed and send me a copy of the poem, and today in my mailbox I found not only the poem, but an extra copy of the entire September 1933 issue.



Miracle! Treasure! Gold-pressed Latinum! All praise to the dedicated archivists who preserve such things, and who are so generous with a casual seeker. I can't afford a subscription to their membership drive at the moment, but as soon as it becomes possible, it is my intention to show my gratitude in a more substantial manner.

So here, after lo, these many years, is the poem that drove me on my journey of discovery:

A Hungry Man is At My Door
Grace Noll Crowell, in The Christian Advocate

A hungry man is at my door,
 What shall I do?
My fire is warm, my loaf is sweet,
 And I have you,
Sufficient for my needs... but oh,
 The wind is cold.
A hungry man is at my door,
 And he is old;
And he is weary, waiting to be fed.
 I cannot dine
Until I break in three this loaf
 I thought was mine.
I cannot rest beside my fire
 Unless I share
Its warmth with him, and find a cloak
 That he can wear.
This done --- and he upon his way
 Along the street ---
I find a warmer fire --- my loaf
 Grown doubly sweet.


It's no small miracle to me that I remembered as much of the poem as I did, albeit imperfectly. All I can say is that even at that tender and tumultuous age, this simple verse spoke to my heart, and whispered to me of my ultimate purpose, to serve God's children by raising the human condition.

This night I am above all men most grateful, and most fulfilled.


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Comments

deckardcanine
Sep. 24th, 2009 02:06 pm (UTC)
Wow. I can't see myself committing to a search that long, which is one reason I'm not a scientist. But I appreciate your happy ending.
r_caton
Sep. 24th, 2009 04:17 pm (UTC)
Just goes to show....
persistence.
How many of these organisations still exist, slightly below the surface of everyday life?
Temperance organisations come to mind....

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