Verse > Anthologies > The World’s Best Poetry > Vol. IV. The Higher Life
Bliss Carman, et al., eds.  The World’s Best Poetry.
Volume IV. The Higher Life.  1904.
VII. Death: Immortality: Heaven
Barbara Miller MacAndrew
   “At even, or at midnight, or at the cock-crowing, or in the morning.”—MARK xiii. 35.

“IT may be in the evening,
    When the work of the day is done,
And you have time to sit in the twilight
    And watch the sinking sun,
While the long bright day dies slowly        5
    Over the sea,
And the hour grows quiet and holy
    With thoughts of me;
While you hear the village children
    Passing along the street,        10
Among those thronging footsteps
    May come the sound of my feet.
Therefore I tell you: Watch
    By the light of the evening star,
When the room is growing dusky        15
    As the clouds afar;
Let the door be on the latch
    In your home,
For it may be through the gloaming
    I will come.        20
“It may be when the midnight
    Is heavy upon the land,
And the black waves lying dumbly
    Along the sand;
When the moonless night draws close,        25
And the lights are out in the house;
When the fires burn low and red,
And the watch is ticking loudly
    Beside the bed:
Though you sleep, tired out, on your couch,        30
Still your heart must wake and watch
    In the dark room,
For it may be that at midnight
    I will come.
“It may be at the cock-crow,        35
When the night is dying slowly
    In the sky,
And the sea looks calm and holy,
    Waiting for the dawn
    Of the golden sun        40
    Which draweth nigh;
When the mists are on the valleys, shading
    The rivers chill,
And my morning-star is fading, fading
    Over the hill:        45
Behold I say unto you: Watch;
Let the door be on the latch
    In your home;
In the chill before the dawning,
Between the night and morning,        50
    I may come.
“It may be in the morning,
    When the sun is bright and strong,
And the dew is glittering sharply
    Over the little lawn;        55
When the waves are laughing loudly
    Along the shore,
And the little birds are singing sweetly
    About the door;
With the long day’s work before you,        60
    You rise up with the sun,
And the neighbors come in to talk a little
    Of all that must be done.
But remember that I may be the next
    To come in at the door,        65
To call you from all your busy work
As you work your heart must watch,
For the door is on the latch
    In your room,        70
And it may be in the morning
    I will come.”
So He passed down my cottage garden,
    By the path that leads to the sea,
Till he came to the turn of the little road        75
    Where the birch and laburnum tree
Lean over and arch the way;
There I saw him a moment stay,
    And turn once more to me,
    As I wept at the cottage door,        80
And lift up his hands in blessing—
    Then I saw his face no more.
And I stood still in the doorway,
    Leaning against the wall,
Not heeding the fair white roses,        85
    Though I crushed them and let them fall.
Only looking down the pathway,
    And looking toward the sea,
And wondering, and wondering
    When he would come back for me;        90
Till I was aware of an angel
    Who was going swiftly by,
With the gladness of one who goeth
    In the light of God Most High.
He passed the end of the cottage        95
    Toward the garden gate;
(I suppose he was come down
At the setting of the sun
To comfort some one in the village
    Whose dwelling was desolate)        100
And he paused before the door
    Beside my place,
And the likeness of a smile
    Was on his face.
“Weep not,” he said, “for unto you is given        105
    To watch for the coming of his feet
Who is the glory of our blessèd heaven;
    The work and watching will be very sweet,
    Even in an earthly home;
And in such an hour as you think not        110
    He will come.”
So I am watching quietly
    Every day.
Whenever the sun shines brightly,
    I rise and say:        115
“Surely it is the shining of his face!”
  And look unto the gates of his high place
    Beyond the sea;
For I know he is coming shortly
    To summon me.        120
And when a shadow falls across the window
    Of my room,
Where I am working my appointed task,
I lift my head to watch the door, and ask
    If he is come;        125
And the angel answers sweetly
    In my home:
“Only a few more shadows,
    And he will come.”

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