A Leather and a Stone


I brought a leather and a stone
To bring down the mighty
And came before a throne
And there they tried to fit me

The garments of a king
they laid upon my chest
To battle a Philistine
So I might slay him in his breast

A sword of greater weight
They laid upon my arms
But my young and feeble frame
Could not bear its heavy load

I spoke to the men
Surrounding in the throng
“This is not who I am,
I’ll use my leather and a stone”

They laughed and jeered and scoffed at me
Then pointed across the field
“You see that man standing there?
You’ll sunder him with a stone?”

Again I spoke and rest my voice
With these solemn words alone,
“I am but a shepherd’s boy,
Let God use me as I am”

They replied, “Alas! Off to his death
What dress it does not matter.
If arrayed in kingly robes or shepherds’ straps
On either his blood will be splattered…”

So sent they I into the field
Clasping my leather and a stone
And sped forth swinging round
Without a spot of armor

Both armies stunned when I, a boy, ran out
Swinging straps between my hands
To face a giant three times my size
Dressed in the thickest coat of armor

The giant laughed with mighty roars
When I came into his sight
He sheathed his sword, took of his helmet
And scoffed, “I’ll kill him with my hands!”

I sped and ran to meet this brute
His mouth pouring foul curses
Then halted on a berm
When he was closing in

I whirled my leather one last time
And let the outer stringlet fly
Then sent the stone through the air
To meet this beast’s foul face

Both armies fell silent
When the rock had lit
His body slumped and fell crashing down
And stunned he lay in dust

A moment wasting not I ran
To draw his sword and take his head
To silence for all this raving beast
Who cursed my God to no end

Returning to the kingly courts
And bearing my victor’s prize
I stood before the council’s voice
As they wondered in surprise

“My boy, forgive us,
we thought we were dead,
we doubted God and what he would use
to save his people from doom,

“A boy, ‘unlikely’, we thought.
but a shepherd with a stone?
‘Dear God,’ we thought, ‘What have you sent?
Our death is sealed at this!’ ”

I spoke to all, and shared this piece,
“A warrior I may not be,
I tried to fit another’s clothes
but surely it was not me.

“Let God decide whom he shall use
for this I know as true
I cannot be what I am not
So let God use me as me

I bear but a leather and a stone.”

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