Does the road wind uphill all the way?
Yes, to the very end.
Will the day’s journey take the whole long day?
From morn to night, my friend.
But is there for the night a resting-place?
A roof for when the slow, dark hours begin.
May not the darkness hide it from my face?
You cannot miss that inn.
Shall I meet other wayfarers at night?
Those who have gone before.
Then must I knock, or call when just in sight?
They will not keep you waiting at that door.
Shall I find comfort, travel-sore and weak?
Of labour you shall find the sum.
Will there be beds for me and all who seek?
Yea, beds for all who come.
Christina Georgina Rossetti. 1830–1894
I have put this poem, which I love very much, up today at the nudging of my mentor on all things poetical, Chris Fewings. He appreciates poetry, and writes very good poetry of his own, which you can see on his blog.
I wonder if he and I agree on what it means? For many years I took it at face value, a poem about a comfortable and welcoming inn at the end of a tiring day’s journey.
But I don’t think it is about that at all. The questions all seem to be about this topic, but the answers are rather strange in this context, don’t you think? I have put them in italics (not there in the original – beware!).
I think the poem is a conversation with Death, and the ‘beds for all who come’ are graves.
What do you think?