A poem for the Sesquicentennial Kick-Off

Poem Read at Sesquicentennial Kick-Off, January 5, 2019

Several people have asked me for a copy of the poem that I read at the Sesquicentennial Kick-Off on Saturday, January 5. I read a poem that I found in the Archives of Appalachia in October. If my memory is correct, Mary Hardin McCown, Johnson City’s first historian, had written these words on the back of an envelope. (I have inserted punctuation for ease of reading.)

Life is a story in volume three
The past, the present, and yet to be.
The first we’ve written and laid away,
The present we’re writing from day to day.
The third and last of the volumes three
Is hidden from sight. God keeps the key.

I wanted to research some of these phrases, so I Googled. It appears that there is another poem, with an unknown author, that is very similar. There is no date attached, but here it is:

Life is a book in volumes three –
The past, the present, and the yet-to-be.
The past is written and laid away,
The present we’re writing every day,
And the last and best of volumes three
Is locked from sight – God keeps the key.

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