Wednesday, October 19, 2011


when i was in 5th grade(ish), I remember going to the library and checking out this book: Best Loved Poems of the American People.  It has over 575 poems in it, and was originally published in 1936.  i have no idea why, but i read the whole book.  i've never been a huge poetry reader, but i kept re-checking out this book for a couple months.  i hadn't thought about the book in about 15 years, but the other day i was at barnes & noble and i saw the book and recognized it from the cover, and the memories flooded back of reading this book.  i remembered i had a favorite poem from this book, and i searched the book until i found it again-

Photo of the Rose Garden Door - Johnson Park, Tenafly, NJ found here

Death is a Door
by Nancy Byrd Turner

Death is only an old door
Set in a garden wall
On gentle hinges it gives, at dusk
When the thrushes call
Along the lintel are green leaves
Beyond the light lies still;
Very willing and weary feet
Go over that sill
There is nothing to trouble any heart;
Nothing to hurt at all.
Death is only a quiet door.
In an old wall.

Now, let me remind you, I was in 5th grade.  This was also around the same time I was obsessed with ghosts and "true" ghost stories, and asking every grown-up I knew if they had ever seen ghosts (by the way, my grandma and aunt have pretty extensive ghost-seeing pasts).  So I'm not sure if that had anything to do with me being taken by this seemingly morbid poem, but if you read it a couple times, it's actually really soothing.  There's just an old door in a garden wall, and one day, when you've lived your life and you're ready to go, you can step over the sill and there's nothing troubling or hurtful beyond that wall.  It paints such a serene picture of this old door in an ivy-covered wall.

Random, I know- I just read a different poem and it made that book and poem pop into my head. 

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