A door just opened on a street…

A Door just opened on a street —
I — lost — was passing by —
An instant’s Width of Warmth disclosed —
And Wealth — and Company.

The Door as instant shut — And I —
I — lost — was passing by —
Lost doubly — but by contrast — most —
Informing — misery —

~Emily Dickinson

Have you ever experienced that? When you feel confused as if you’re lost on a street, a door suddenly opens in front of you offering you hope and warmth. The joy turns out to be short lived when the open door is closed the next moment . You haven’t realised that it is open for an instant, though the fool in you mistook the open doors for eternity. You feel doubly lost, as the woe and misery of not knowing a world of warmth and company adds to the already existing lost feeling. That flicker of fleeting hope deepens the intensity of darkness.

In two stanzas Emily powerfully conveys a feeling that many of us would have experienced several times. It is interesting to notice the double use of ‘I’ in the second stanza…a doubly lost I. The dashes after each word in the last lines give the effect of broken words from an anguished heart; a lump in the throat prevents words from coming out.

The soul should always stand ajar” Emily has said… Yes, let us keep the doors of our soul always ajar, not just to welcome Heaven who wants to drop in, but to give some comfort and warmth to a lost soul that is passing by.


2 thoughts on “A door just opened on a street…

  1. What a lovely post. This is a new poem for me, and you’ve illustrated it beautifully. it’s true, isn’t it — most human experiences come to us all. Thank goodness for people like Dickinson who can portray them so powerfully.


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