Harriet Beecher Stowe

(14 June 1811 - 1 July 1896 / Litchfield, Connecticut)

Knocking - Poem by Harriet Beecher Stowe

'Behold, I stand at the door and knock.'

Knocking, knocking, ever knocking?
Who is there?
'T is a pilgrim, strange and kingly,
Never such was seen before;-
Ah, sweet soul, for such a wonder
Undo the door.

No,-that door is hard to open;
Hinges rusty, latch is broken;
Bid Him go.
Wherefore, with that knocking dreary
Scare the sleep from one so weary?
Say Him,-no.

Knocking, knocking, ever knocking?
What! Still there?
O sweet soul, but once behold Him,
With the glory-crowned hair;
And those eyes, so strange and tender,
Waiting there;
Open! Open! Once behold Him,-
Him, so fair.

Ah, that door! Why wilt Thou vex me,
Coming ever to perplex me?
For the key is stiffly rusty,
And the bolt is clogged and dusty;
Many-fingered ivy-vine
Seals it fast with twist and twine;
Weeds of years and years before
Choke the passage of that door.

Knocking! Knocking! What! still knocking?
He still there?
What's the hour? The night is waning,-
In my heart a drear complaining,
And a chilly, sad unrest!
Ah, this knocking! It disturbs me,
Scares my sleep with dreams unblest!
Give me rest,
Rest,-ah, rest!

Rest, dear soul, He longs to give thee;
Thou hast only dreamed of pleasure,
Dreamed of gifts and golden treasure,
Dreamed of jewels in thy keeping,
Waked to weariness of weeping;-
Open to thy soul's one Lover,
And thy night of dreams is over,-
The true gifts He brings have seeming
More than all thy faded dreaming!

Did she open? Doth she? Will she?
So, as wondering we behold,
Grows the picture to a sign,
Pressed upon your soul and mine;
For in every breast that liveth
Is that strange, mysterious door;-
Though forsaken and betangled,
Ivy-gnarled and weed-bejangled,
Dusty, rusty, and forgotten;-

There the pierced hand still knocketh,
And with ever patient watching,
With the sad eyes true and tender,
With the glory-crowned hair,-
Still a God is waiting there.


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Poem Submitted: Monday, September 20, 2010



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