“Behold, I Stand at the Door”

  “Drawn from the wells of light that lie afar,
  The dim cold dawning quells the lamps above,
  Save where the lightnings of the morning star
      Flash like the eyes of love.

  As showers of pearls, beneath the morning beam,
  The icy dewdrops glimmer on the grass —
  Below the meadow slowly glides the stream,
      A flood of liquid glass.

  And ghastly in the face of coming day —
  Where leaves and fruits around unheeded rot —
  A wreck amidst that store-house of decay,
      There stands a lonely cot.

  Around the walls the earth-born ivy clings,
  And clutches at the nails upon the door;
  The portal seemeth to all outer things
      Close shut for evermore.

  For grossly wrapped around with earthly growth,
  Buried in self, its breathing tenant lies —
  A living sepulchre of vice and sloth,
      Where manhood droops and dies.

  And all the threshold is with weeds o’ergrown
  Of rankest sort; the door with twofold locks
  Is closely barred. — But mark, where all alone
      A Stranger stands and knocks.

  Alone, alone, in that keen frosty air,
  Long at the door of that unsheltering cot
  He stands, and gently craves admission there,
      But answer comes there not.

  See where He stands in kingly vesture clad,
  With god-like love and pity in His face,
  And eyes divinely calm, divinely sad,
      All full of truth and grace

  The scarlet robe, which once in bitterest scorn
  Enwound His limbs, is gemm’d with lustres now;
  A crown of gold, wreathed in the crown of thorn,
      Gleams king-like on His brow.

  Oh, let Him in; on such a wintry night
  The vilest wretch might claim a boon like this;
  But He has come to bring thee life and light,
      And everlasting bliss.

  The cross, the crown of thorns He bore for thee;
  The crown of glory thou with Him shalt wear;
  Oh, open now thy heart, and let Him be
      No more a stranger there.

  “Not yet, not yet — a little longer rest
  In sin, in sloth, in self — not yet, not yet;”
  Unready is my heart for such a guest —
      Perchance He still will wait.

  Thy heart is dark, but He will give it light;
  Thy heart is vile, but He will cleanse its sin;
  For where He dwelleth, there, there is no night;
      Oh, haste to let Him in.

  “Not yet, not yet — my heart is dull and cold;
  It has no thirsting to be truly blest;
  It cannot love His goodness — ’twere too bold
  To sup with such a guest.”

  Oh, still He knocks; oh, still He gently pleads,
  “Give Me thy heart; I gave My life for thee,
  And I will give thee all thy bosom needs;
      All fullness dwells in Me.”

  “Not yet, not yet” — the years roll slowly by
  “Tomorrow will I open; not today;
  Still in my slothful slumber let me lie;”
      He will not go away.

  Oh, haste, oh, haste; the morrow is not thine;
  Today, if thou wilt hear His voice, repent
  And open; listen to the voice divine —
      The voice in mercy sent.

  The day creeps on with steady, stealthy pace;
  He knocks again as He has knocked before,
  The patient sorrow deepens in His face —
      Soon will He knock no more.

  The night is dying, and thy nakedness
  Shall soon be open in the eye of day,
  And He who would have robed thee in
      His dress will sadly turn away.

  “Not yet, not yet.” — Oh, open now thy heart,
  And bid Him enter as a welcome guest;
  Yea, open now, and, darkling as thou art,
      Ev’n now thou shalt be blest.

T.B. Baines
S.T. 1915