The Door, Miroslav Holub

• Does the discussion of the poem reflect your own thoughts and interpretations? What other comments could you add?


This poem tells the reader to “Go and open the door” and explores the possibilities of what may lie beyond the door that it commands us to “open”. The poem makes the reader consider a range of possibilities as to what the opened door will reveal to us while emphasising that we need to take action, to actually “open the door” in order to find what lies beyond and facilitate change. The repeated command (or imperative) creates an emphatic tone that implores the reader to take a chance, to choose to leave their “comfort zones”, their present state and to take on the world outside and possibly change as a result.
The poem presents the door as a symbol. A closed door can be a barrier, a symbol of things that keep us confined and limited as individuals. By opening the door we remove those barriers and are introduced to possibilities. Thus the door can be perceived as both an entry and an exit. By opening the door individuals choose to change, to enter a new state of being, consider new things and alter their present existence or thinking: they are exposed to change. In this way the door can also be an exit, as individuals leave their limited world through the door and embrace change and variation. The door can be seen as a dual metaphor for what restricts us (our own thinking, perceptions, physical limits etc.) as well as being a gateway to opportunity and change.
Yet the poem reminds us that there are no certainties when we open the door, just varied opportunities which are then listed and range from the common and ordinary (“a tree”, “a dog’s rummaging”) to the fantastic and abstract (“a magic city”, “the picture of a picture”). What lies beyond the door will perhaps be different for everyone and the poem offers different possibilities and results of change. The change may be subtle like “the hollow wind”, or as confronting as the stark “eye”, or unexpected like the “magic city”, or a new perspective through “the picture/ of a picture”. But all encompass the notion of change: that which may alter us, our world or give us a new perspective.
The tone of the poem is optimistic and change is presented as a positive force. Even “if there’s a fog” when we open the door, an obstacle or difficulty, and things at first lack clarity, or we feel uncertain, the poem reassures the reader that “it will clear”. The poem encourages us to at least seek change, to persevere and to at least “open the door” as there is still benefit in experiencing whatever we find, no matter how insignificant or momentous. It is the attempt that matters. Regardless of what we find and how we perceive it the poem emphasises that “even if” we think “nothing/ is there. . . At least/there’ll be/a draught”; we will feel something, even if it just the movement of the door.