A Curse on a Closed Gate

by JAMES H. COUSINS (1873–1956)

BE THIS the fate
Of the man who would shut his gate
On the stranger, gentle or simple, early or late.

When his mouth with a day’s long
hunger and thirst would wish
For the savour of salted fish,
Let him sit and eat his fill of an empty dish.

To the man of that ilk,
Let water stand in his churn, instead of milk
That turns a calf’s coat silk.

And under the gloomy night
May never a thatch made tight
Shut out the clouds from his sight.

Above the ground or below it,
Good cheer, may he never know it,
Nor a tale by the fire, nor a dance on the road,
nor a song by a wandering poet.

Till he open his gate
To the stranger, early or late,
And turn back the stone of his fate.

James H. Cousins Contemporaries
Hilaire Belloc
Rainer Maria Rilke
Carl Sandburg
William Carlos Williams

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