The Door

The Door
Go and open the door.
          Maybe outside there’s
          a tree, or a wood,
          a garden,
          or a magic city.

Go and open the door.
          Maybe a dog’s rummaging.
          Maybe you’ll see a face,
or an eye, 
or the picture
          of a picture.

Go and open the door.
          If there’s a fog
          it will clear.

Go and open the door.
          Even if there’s only 
          the darkness ticking,
          even if there’s only
          the hollow wind,
          even if
                  nothing
                           is there,
go and open the door.

At least
there’ll be 
a draught.
Miroslav Holub

from Poems Before & After: Collected English translations (Bloodaxe Books, 2006)

Reproduced by permission of the publisher

Miroslav Holub

Miroslav Holub was born in 1923 in Plzeň, in what was then Czechoslovakia.  After secondary school, he worked as a labourer at a warehouse and at a railway station. When Czech universities re-opened following the end of Nazi occupation, Holub studied at Charles University in Prague, studying biomedical science. Holub’s work, which was suppressed in Czechoslovakia during the period of communist rule,  frequently draws on his experiences as an immunologist and clinical pathologist. Despite the wide audience which his poetry found, he regarded himself as scientist before poet. Holub died in Prague in 1998.

Read more about this poet
About The Door

This poem is included in the second edition of Tools of the Trade: Poems for new doctors (Scottish Poetry Library, 2016). The anthology was edited by Kate Hendry; Dr Lesley Morrison, GP; Dr John Gillies, GP and Chair, Royal College of GPs in Scotland (2010-2014); Revd Ali Newell, and Lilias Fraser. A copy of the first edition was given to all graduating doctors in Scotland in 2014 and 2015, and with support from RCGPS and the Medical and Dental Defence Union of Scotland, to all graduating doctors in 2016, 2017 and 2018. We are very grateful for the individual donations which funded the cost of this anthology, and to the Deans of the Scottish medical schools who made it possible to give the books to their graduating students.