Treasure Island

Roderic Quinn

(1867 - 1949 / Australia)

The Three Knocks


WHEN the owl that scared the mouse
Fluffed his feathers and sat still,
And the night around was chill,
On the door of yonder house
Someone knocked,
And a hand the door unlocked.
While the owl, aloof and drear
Yellow-eyed his vigil kept,
Down the breeze a crying crept,
And it seemed to tell of fear —
Fear and care —
It was Life that entered there!
When the owl had greyer grown
By a score of years and more,
On the selfsame cedar door
Of yon house that stands alone,
Someone knocked,
And a hand the door unlocked.
Yet, though many gracious flowers
Wreathed the house from floor to roof,
In his shadowed haunt aloof
Staring sat he through the hours,
Unaware
It was Love that entered there!
When the owl had passed away,
And the mouse, no more afraid,
In the tree-glooms frisked and played,
On that door at end of day
Someone knocked,
And a hand the door unlocked.
Once and twice that knock had come,
Once for Life, and once for Love;
Towards the night the shadows move,
And the land lies still and dumb
Everywhere —
It is Death that enters there!

Submitted: Friday, April 16, 2010

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