Footprints (poem): Difference between revisions

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The text describes a dream, in which the person is walking on a beach with [[God]] (in some versions, specifically identified as [[Jesus]]). They leave two sets of footprints in the sand behind them. Looking back, the tracks are stated to represent various stages of this person's life. At some points the two trails dwindle to one, especially at the lowest and most hopeless moments of the character's life. When questioning God, believing that God must have abandoned his follower during those times, God gives the explanation: 'During your times of trial and suffering, when you see only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you'.
 
The text describes a dream, in which the person is walking on a beach with [[God]] (in some versions, specifically identified as [[Jesus]]). They leave two sets of footprints in the sand behind them. Looking back, the tracks are stated to represent various stages of this person's life. At some points the two trails dwindle to one, especially at the lowest and most hopeless moments of the character's life. When questioning God, believing that God must have abandoned his follower during those times, God gives the explanation: 'During your times of trial and suffering, when you see only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you'.
   
==Origins==
 
The metaphor of "footprints in the sand" is ancient. Most relevant to the origins of the poem are two passages. In ''[[Robinson Crusoe]]'' ([[1719]]), [[Daniel Defoe]] writes that Crusoe unexpectedly observed footprints in the sand. These turn out to be the footprints of the character Friday. In ''[[An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding]]'' ([[1748]]), [[David Hume]] writes a long passage on the philosophical and theological implications of finding footprints (or rather, gaps in footprints) in the sand.
 
 
June Hadden Hobbs proposes that its origins lie in Mary B C Slade's 1871 hymn "Footsteps of Jesus" as "almost surely the source of the notion that Jesus' footprints have narrative significance that influences the way believers conduct their life stories ... it allows Jesus and a believer to inhabit the same space at the same time. ... Jesus travels the path of the believer, instead of the other way round." <ref>I sing for I cannot be silent: the Feminization of American Hymnody, 1870-1920, June Hadden Hobbs, p123</ref>
 
 
Rachel Aviv<ref name="aviv">{{cite web
 
| last = Aviv
 
| first = Rachel
 
| authorlink =
 
| title = Enter Sandman: Who wrote footprints?
 
| work =
 
| publisher = Poetry Foundation
 
| date =
 
| url = http://www.poetryfoundation.org/archive/feature.html?id=180239
 
| format =
 
| doi =
 
| accessdate = 20080805}}</ref>suggests that the source of this poem is the opening paragraph of Charles Haddon Spurgeon's sermon ''The Education of the Sons of God''<ref name="s2722">{{cite book
 
| last = Spurgeon
 
| first = Charles Haddon
 
| authorlink = Charles Spurgeon
 
| title = The Education of the Sons of God
 
| publisher =
 
| date = 10 June 1880
 
| location = Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington
 
| pages =
 
| url = http://www.spurgeongems.org/vols46-48/chs2722.pdf
 
| doi =
 
| id =
 
| isbn = }}</ref><blockquote>WERE you ever in a new trouble, one which was so strange that you felt that a similar trial had never happened to
 
you and, moreover, you dreamt that such a temptation had never assailed anybody else? I should not wonder if that was
 
the thought of your troubled heart. And did you ever walk out upon that lonely desert island upon which you were
 
wrecked and say, “I am alone—alone—ALONE—nobody was ever here before me”? And did you suddenly pull up
 
short as you noticed, in the sand, the footprints of a man? I remember right well passing through that experience—and
 
when I looked, lo, it was not merely the footprints of a man that I saw, but I thought I knew whose feet had left those
 
imprints. They were the marks of One who had been crucified, for there was the print of the nails. So I thought to myself,
 
“If He has been here, it is no longer a desert island. As His blessed feet once trod this wilderness-way, it blossoms now
 
like the rose and it becomes to my troubled spirit as a very garden of the Lord!”</blockquote>
 
 
Several writers have claimed authorship of the parable. In chronological order, these claims are as follows:
 
   
 
* [[Ella H. Scharring-Hausen]] June 6, [[1922]]
 
* [[Ella H. Scharring-Hausen]] June 6, [[1922]]
* Mary Stevenson: [[1939]]<ref name="gail">{{cite book
 
| last = Giorgio
 
| first = Gail
 
| authorlink =
 
| title = Footprints in the Sand - The Life Story of Mary Stevenson, Author of the Immortal Poem
 
| publisher = Gold Leaf Press
 
| date = 1955
 
| location =
 
| pages =
 
| url =
 
| doi =
 
| id =
 
| isbn = 1882723120
 
978-1882723126 }}</ref>
 
* Burrell Webb: [[1958]]
 
 
* [[Carolyn Joyce Carty]]: April Passion week, [[1963]]
 
* [[Carolyn Joyce Carty]]: April Passion week, [[1963]]
* Margaret Fishback Powers: [[1967]]<ref name="margaret">{{cite book
 
| last = Powers
 
| first = Margaret Fishback
 
| authorlink =
 
| title = Footprints: The Story Behind the Poem That Inspired Millions
 
| publisher = HarperCollins
 
| date = 1992
 
| location =
 
| pages =
 
| url =
 
| doi =
 
| id =
 
| isbn =
 
}}</ref>
 
 
=== Lawsuit ===
 
On 12 May 2008, Basil Zangare filed a lawsuit in US Federal Court (Eastern District of New York) against Margaret Fishback Powers and Carolyn Joyce Carty alleging copyright infringement. <ref name="wapost">{{Citation
 
| last = Stuever
 
| first = Hank
 
| author-link = Hank Stuever
 
| title = Search to Divine Authorship Leads 'Footprints' to Court
 
| newspaper = The Washington Post
 
| pages =
 
| year = 2008
 
| date = 1 June 2008
 
| url = http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/05/31/AR2008053101998.html }}</ref>
 
   
 
==Influence==
 
==Influence==

Revision as of 00:36, 6 August 2008

For the anime, see H2O Footprints in the Sand.

"During your times of trial and suffering, when you see only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you"

Footprints, also known as Footprints in the Sand, is a popular allegorical text written in prose. There are three versions of the poem all with the same title but different authors. While critics have debated the literary merits of the piece, it has been enormously popular, especially among American Christians. There are multiple recensions.

Content

The text describes a dream, in which the person is walking on a beach with God (in some versions, specifically identified as Jesus). They leave two sets of footprints in the sand behind them. Looking back, the tracks are stated to represent various stages of this person's life. At some points the two trails dwindle to one, especially at the lowest and most hopeless moments of the character's life. When questioning God, believing that God must have abandoned his follower during those times, God gives the explanation: 'During your times of trial and suffering, when you see only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you'.


Influence

A song based on the poem, called "Footprints in the Sand", was written by Per Magnusson, David Kreuger, Richard Page and Simon Cowell and recorded by Leona Lewis.[1] It appears on Lewis's debut album Spirit.

Another song inspired by the poem called "Footprints" was recorded by Dancehall/Reggae group T.O.K.. Keyshia Cole's video for her single for "Heaven Sent" was influenced by the poem as well.

H2O: Footprints in the Sand, a Japanese adult visual novel by Makura, uses the poem as its main theme.

The poem is the namesake for the title of the popular web serial Footprints.

Aaliyah's Music Video for "Rock the Boat" has been inspired by the poem.

References

  1. ^ "Leona to release Sport Relief song". Virgin Media. 2008-01-31. Retrieved 2008-02-01.  Check date values in: |date= (help)

External links