Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Poets United Midweek Motif ~ Doorway(s)

Mcnicoll The Open Door.jpg
The Open Door by Helen McNicoll (@1910)

“How concrete everything becomes in the world of the spirit when an object, 
a mere door, can give images of hesitation, temptation, 
desire, security, welcome and respect.” 

“. . . I have always taken that as a general rule of life: If a door opens,
walk on through  and at least take a look around.” 

File:Digital Eye–2014–Rock of Cashel Doorways.jpg
Rock of Cashel, Ireland, Photo by Digital Eye


Midweek Motif ~ Doorway(s)

"Women lean on doorways!
Are they waiting, hesitating, 
or holding up the world?"  

I wrote those lines in a "Women's Movement" poem at least 35 years ago.  I can't find the poem, but the image sticks with me as a place where two worlds meet, a place that is neither the kitchen nor the board room ~ a place where choice is possible.

"Door" is also the deepest root meaning of January:
 January (in Latin, Ianuarius) is named after the Latin word for door (ianua), since January is the door to the year and an opening to new beginnings. The month is conventionally thought of as being named after Janus, the god of beginnings and transitions in Roman mythology, but according to ancient Roman farmers' almanacs Juno was the tutelary deity of the month.

Your Challenge:  Write a new poem with a doorway motif, one with doors open or closed.

Photo of Cape Coast Castle's 'Door of No Return"

Like the moon that night, my father —
         a distant body, white and luminous.
How small I was back then,
         looking up as if from dark earth.

Distant, his body white and luminous, 
         my father stood in the doorway.
Looking up as if from dark earth,
         I saw him outlined in a scrim of light.

My father stood in the doorway
         as if to watch over me as I dreamed.
When I saw him outlined — a scrim of light —
         he was already waning, turning to go.

Once, he watched over me as I dreamed.
         How small I was. Back then, 
he was already turning to go, waning
         like the moon that night — my father.

(from Thrall. Copyright © 2012 by Natasha Trethewey. Used with permission)

by Mary Oliver
It doesn’t have to be
the blue iris, it could be
weeds in a vacant lot, or a few
small stones; just
pay attention, then patch
a few words together and don’t try
to make them elaborate, this isn’t
a contest but the doorway
into thanks, and a silence in which
another voice may speak.

Thirst, Beacon Press 2006, 

found at Poem Elf.

"Never mind, Princess Irene," he said. "You mustn't kiss me to-night. But you sha'n't break your word. I will come another time.".jpg
From The Princess and the Goblin by George MacDonald,
illustrated by Jessie Willcox Smith, 1920

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
. . . . 
(Read the rest HERE.)

They sit together on the porch, the dark 
Almost fallen, the house behind them dark. 
Their supper done with, they have washed and dried 
The dishes–only two plates now, two glasses, 
Two knives, two forks, two spoons–small work for two. 
She sits with her hands folded in her lap, 
At rest. He smokes his pipe. They do not speak, 
And when they speak at last it is to say 
What each one knows the other knows. They have 
One mind between them, now, that finally 
For all its knowing will not exactly know 
Which one goes first through the dark doorway, bidding 
Goodnight, and which sits on a while alone.

Still Life with Doorway and Cat Berdichev - Polissya Region - Ukraine


Please share your new poem using Mr. Linky below and 
visit others in the spirit of the community—

(Sumana’s Midweek Motif will be ~ Poetry about the Body)


  1. Happy New Year! I'm looking forward to a year filled with poetry, starting with this day.

    At 6:15--soon--Central Time, I have to take a friend to the hospital. I'll bring a laptop, but it is probable that I won't be back until this afternoon. It seem unfair when the door opens into a world of medications and surgery, but I am grateful to accompany her. In my fantasy, we can all make the world and life we'd like to live in.

    1. I'm back and making my rounds!

      My long-time (48 years?) friend/sister Nancy has been diagnosed with the a rare Cholangio-carcinoma, and is about to start 6 weeks of Chemo and Radiation. Maybe It will become Operable then. I will accompany her on this journey. We will try to stay positive. There is nothing else can be done. Thank you for your good thoughts--but most of all thank you for your poetry.

      Thank you for being poets!

    2. I hope your friend gets her surgery!

  2. Thanks for another midweek prompt. I hope your friend is well Susan happy new year to all

  3. Hope all is well with your friend Susan. A very happy New Year to you all :)

  4. Happy New Year!
    I hope that more doors open for everyone than close.

  5. I'm a day late as usual, so busy this week but today is a day for writing. I'll go do it now. Have a great week everyone!

  6. A timely prompt for the beginning of a new year, and I loved the example poems given, each one so perfect. Hope all is well with your friend, Susan.

  7. Remember, Susan, it will be OK, and even if it is not OK, it will still be OK. You are a wonderful friend. It is good to have a friend to walk with us. Thank you for the prompt. I beckon to the words, and they come. They have been in hiding.

  8. What a great surprise! Today is Wednesday! Lol! Posted and reading now. Hugs all around!

  9. Hope everyone had a great holiday!

  10. Lovely prompt, thank you, Susan; and great poems you chose to illustrate it.

  11. Good Evening, Poets! Thanks, Susan, for this intriguing prompt! I considered two different doors in two different moments of life--in the Spirit of Janus! Happy New Year, everyone!

  12. Gah, I wrestled all day with what came up for me with doorways......I apologize in advance for the downer. I almost didnt post, but did want to respond to the prompt. We shall hope for some better doorways in 2018. I hope to see trump going OUT of one!!!!! That would help!!!!!!!

    1. It sure would. Thank you for wrestling with the prompt!

  13. I found inspiration late too Susan, it arriving this morning.
    My thoughts are with you and especially your friend, and I am sure through your friendship, you will lighten her load.
    Kind regards
    Anna :o]

  14. Hmm... can't see the linky... maybe because I'm at work.
    I'll try again from home, but share my link here for now:
    Thanks for the inspiration!

    1. Yep. Can see the linky now. Bah to the corporate censors!

    2. Haha. Have a happy New Year,Dan.


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