[Written for the Sentinel]

The Barrier

All day I watched for that bright messenger
Of whom my heart had heard. I swept my room,
Made bright my windows, opened wide my door.
"How will he come?" I asked. They answered me,
"A step so soft no other ear shall hear,
'A still small voice,' a kind and shining light."
Oh, heart astir! Oh, eager, waiting hands!

I watched all day; and when the night came down,
I closed my eyes upon their tears and said:
"My house is dark and I am still alone.
Why did he pass me when my door is wide?"
Soft was the answer, "Tho' your door is wide,
How could one enter?" And I looked and saw,
Even in the dark, the barrier of stones
Upon my threshold. Little stones and large,
A strange dark pile that must have secretly
From day to day been builded.

In the dark,
I lit my lamp and, kneeling on the floor,
Lifted them slowly,—stones of hate and pride,
Malice and fear, and the great stone of self.
All night I labored by the little lamp,
And in the dark hour just before the dawn
I knew I had but entered on my task,
Had but begun.

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