The Knockers by Gerson S. Mallilin (Poem) - Critique, Analysis, Meaning

The first one knocked
At the house with his heart,
No one heeded him
The door did not part.
And before he could think
Of knocking with stone
The life from his heart
Had flown.
The second knocked
With a piece of gold,
The door opened promptly
And someone called:
“Come in, Friend, come in
And join us here—
We welcome all callers,
Anytime of the year.”

This poem is a direct indictment of one of the saddest flaws of being a human. This flaw is the tendency of a person to be warm and welcoming to the haves while be cold and condescending to the have-nots. Mallilin frames the poem through an anecdote featuring a house and two knockers. The first person knocks with his heart but he is ignored. The door remains closed. The second person knocks and the door immediately flies open. What does this second knocker have that the door is opened for him? Gold. He has gold.

The first person knocked with his heart because it's all that he has. Although disappointed, he thinks of knocking again but it's too late. His previously warm heart has gone cold and empty. So not only did the people in the house show themselves as selfish and uncaring towards the less fortunate, they've also hardened somebody else's heart.

The poem is also a criticism on human hypocrisy. The first person who knocked was denied. The second person who knocked was allowed to enter because he had gold. The people in the house then tells the second knocker that they welcome anyone who knocked or called "anytime of the year." That's textbook hypocrisy and blatant lying. The denied the first knocker which basically debunks their claim that everyone can knock and enter.

Other poems by George S. Mallilin you can check out: