Verse > Anthologies > The World’s Best Poetry > Vol. IV. The Higher Life
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Bliss Carman, et al., eds.  The World’s Best Poetry.
Volume IV. The Higher Life.  1904.
 
I. The Divine Element—(God, Christ, the Holy Spirit)
“Knocking, ever knocking”
Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811–1896)
 
 “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock.”
—REVELATIONS iii. 20.    

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,        5
            Undo the door.
No,—that door is hard to open;
Hinges rusty, latch is broken;
            Bid Him go.
Wherefore with that knocking dreary        10
Scare the sleep from one so weary?
            Say Him, no.
 
Knocking, knocking, ever knocking?
            What! Still there?
O sweet soul, but once behold Him,        15
With the glory-crownèd hair;
And those eyes, so strange and tender,
            Waiting there;
Open! Open! Once behold Him,
            Him so fair.        20
 
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        25
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?        30
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!        35
            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,        40
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        45
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;        50
For in every breast that liveth
Is that strange, mysterious door;—
The forsaken and betangled,
Ivy-gnarled and weed-bejangled,
Dusty, rusty, and forgotten;—        55
There the piercèd hand still knocketh,
And with ever patient watching,
With the sad eyes true and tender,
With the glory-crownèd hair,—
Still a God is waiting there.        60
 
 
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