The Master Delayed
A servant raps knuckles against the gate.
The porter, who invited you,
informs you that the steward
asks that you return later.
The master calls you
to another citadel.
Outside the walls, at each gate’s narrow,
you talk with porters.
One suggests an opening,
so you appeal to the steward
who tells you what to do
Years pass as you carry out
the quest along the way.
When you return,
the steward says time is too short.
You pass on to the next region,
travel from village to villagez
asking for directions
to more walled in sanctuaries.
So many turns in the desert night,
you have yet to know a home
but that place where the master
might one day offer to lay your head.
Another citadel, you shake the gate,
the porter through the narrows,
states he will take your word to the steward
who orders that the gate remain unopened.
This porter, though, still
sends word to local stewards
of other citadels who say
their gates, too are barred.
You know the steward of these stewards
to be principled in charity and truth.
You have been to his citadel
over the years but he is always abroad.
His porter says no. His porter
has an examiner question you,
another of his porters says no,
these porters think themselves the steward.
You hear the call to persevere.
The master sends conviction and patience.
Take heart for his spirit
is never discouraging.
You return to the steward of the region,
ask the porter to take your cause before him.
The porter slams the narrow gate. You protest.
He shouts and slams again.
You watch and pray and return.
You appeal to a distant steward
who knows your cause,
knows the master and the lady of the house.
You wait. You pray. You call many
to prayer. You invite the porter
who had nothing but rejection for you,
you invite him to prayer.
You wait outside the door.
Not knocking. Just waiting,
watching and praying…silent.
The steward passes by the gate.
You give him a message.
You wait for a response.
The master, though delayed,
will soon arrive.
How will he find
the steward of his stewards,
the stewards, and their porters,
while this servant,
ever more wearied,
remains in vigil
on the outside
of the gate?