Poem Hunter
A Knock At The Door
KN (April 26,1942 / Lincoln, Nebraska)

A Knock At The Door

A knock at the door, late morning.
The dog makes a racket, but the two stand their ground.
They are on God’s business.

I know before I open the door what
they have to say – that God is the answer.
I pull the door open, try to be pleasant,
(but, please, don’t talk too long) .
Two women, earnest, polite, sincere.
(There is a message simply in their manner.)

They ask if I am worried about where
the world is headed.
I answer, yes, I am.
They ask if I read the Bible.
I answer, no, I don’t.
They ask if I believe in God.
I answer, yes, I do.

And then I become infused with
the same spirit that brought them to my door.
I say that I believe there is only one God,
worshipped in many ways,
called by many names.
I say that the God they worship
and the god I worship
are the same God.
They doubt that might be true.

They say if I am worried about
the future of the world,
there are answers in the Bible.
I say there are answers in the Koran,
the Bagadva Gita, the poems of Whitman.
God, I say, is the god of all
and the word of God, therefore,
is found in many places.
There is no language
that God does not speak.

They say people should turn to God
to solve the problems of the world
instead of turning to 'man.'
I say that God works through man,
that the problems of the world
can be solved only by 'man, ' BUT
only if God wants them solved.
They read me something from the Bible.

Then it dawns on me: I am doing
what they came to do;
we are saying different things
but the same things;
God called them to my door,
just as God called me to speak
instead of ushering them
on their way.

After the door is closed, I reflect:
There are people in the world
who bring their beliefs to other people’s doors
with guns and machetes in their hands.
These two gentle souls shared their hearts
and listened to me.

Wouldn’t the world be Eden itself
if we,
Christians and Muslims,
Jews and Penacostals,
Catholics and Orthodox,
all went door to door from time to time
and had conversations like this?

'Blessed are the peace makers,
for they shall inherit the Kingdom of God.'

Oh, that we realize the door
to God’s kingdom is the one upon which
visitors knock.

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Pablo Neruda

If You Forget Me

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