Prospective Immigrants Please Note

Either you will
go through this door
or you will not go through.

If you go through
there is always risk
of remembering your name.

Things look at you doubly
and you must look back
and let them happen.

If you do not go through
it is possible
to live worthily

to maintain your attitudes
to hold your position
to die bravely

but much will blind you,
much will evade you,
at what cost who knows?

The door itself
makes no promises.
It is only a door.

by Adrienne Rich

Comments (2)

'Every day so lovely, shining, up and down, the Sultan’s daughter walked at evening by the water, where the white fountain splashes.' the walk of life, love, or a beautiful walk by the water, 'the Sultan’s daughter' is the object of the gaze, the beloved; the slave is dying in not slavery but love
The character of Asra in Penelope Fitzgerald's novel Human Voices is based on this poem.