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About this Poem 

“The poem actually started when I was thinking about the use of gates in the Yom Kippur service. I was thinking that doors are more concrete somehow as an image of going from one state or another, one era, one phase of one’s life to another—because you can’t see beyond a door when it’s shut. There can always be a surprise on the other side.”
Marge Piercy

Doors opening, closing on us

Maybe there is more of the magical
in the idea of a door than in the door
itself. It’s always a matter of going
through into something else. But

while some doors lead to cathedrals
arching up overhead like stormy skies
and some to sumptuous auditoriums
and some to caves of nuclear monsters

most just yield a bathroom or a closet.
Still, the image of a door is liminal,
passing from one place into another
one state to the other, boundaries

and promises and threats. Inside
to outside, light into dark, dark into
light, cold into warm, known into
strange, safe into terror, wind

into stillness, silence into noise
or music. We slice our life into
segments by rituals, each a door
to a presumed new phase. We see

ourselves progressing from room
to room perhaps dragging our toys
along until the last door opens
and we pass at last into was.
 

Copyright © 2015 by Marge Piercy. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on May 21, 2015, by the Academy of American Poets.

Copyright © 2015 by Marge Piercy. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on May 21, 2015, by the Academy of American Poets.

Marge Piercy

Marge Piercy

Poet, novelist, and essayist Marge Piercy is the author of numerous books of poetry and a collection of essays on poetry.