Footprints: The True Story Behind the Poem That Inspired Millions


106 pages
ISBN 0-00-647425-X
DDC C818'.5407




Reviewed by Bert Almon

Bert Almon is a professor of English at the University of Alberta and
the author of Calling Texas and Earth Prime.


The poem “Footprints” has become the contemporary equivalent of the
favorite poster poem of the 1960s, “Desiderata.” Like
“Desiderata,” “Footprints” circulated anonymously for years
before the author was discovered. Powers wrote her poem at Echo Lake
Youth Camp, Kingston, Ontario, on Thanksgiving Day, 1964. More than 20
years later, she discovered that it was in circulation everywhere and
had given inspiration to millions.

This book falls into the category of inspirational literature, which is
not the same as literature; it is the artless, relentlessly heartwarming
story of Powers’s life, her family, and her experiences writing the
poem and then dealing with its unauthorized fame. We learn about her
2-year-old daughter’s near-fatal accident (the child awoke murmuring
“Wings, Mommy, wings,” as if she had seen a vision of angels) and
other family encounters with the mercy of God. Powers finally decided
not to sue the card companies who have commercialized the poem, as she
feels that it would be unchristian to do so. Her book will certainly
achieve wide circulation, which will doubtless be fair compensation.


Powers, Margaret Fishback., “Footprints: The True Story Behind the Poem That Inspired Millions,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 17, 2024,