Words of WonderThe door - Miroslav Holub


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
…………is there,
go and open the door.

At least
there’ll be
a draught.

By Miroslav Holub


Since I started this weekly sharing of a poem here, I’ve noticed how I’m much more awake to the poems that show up in my life. Sure, I could have chosen a poem I’ve known and loved for a long time, but yesterday I came across this one by the Czech poet Miroslav Holub in the book ‘Well, a doctor’s journey through fear to freedom’ by Mary Gunn, and it spoke to me.

I was very much enjoying the book, where Mary speaks with simple poignancy of her 20 year journey with cancer, and how Lama Yeshe Rinpoche (one of the patrons of the Mindfulness Association) helped her to step into a different perspective which allows her to live well, with courageous acceptance and compassion. Although I’m currently healthy (I think) and my nearest and dearests are too (as far as I know), illness and death are part of the inevitable first arrows of life and this book brought that home again in an inspiring way. There may be no avoiding of illness itself, but the second illness (of worry and fear) can be worked with!

So maybe it was the context of the book that allowed the poem to touch me as it did or maybe it would have done anyway, who’s to say? Either way, I really felt the urgent encouragement of the poet to ‘open the door’: to step into the unknown, to widen my perspective, to look where habitually I shy away.

So having been freshly invited to be curious about what’s behind the door, time to sit and see…

PS if you’d like to practice noticing with curiosity alongside others, why not join our in-depth mindfulness training

Photo by Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash


  1. Dear All
    I recently tutored a series of sessions for creative writing for mindfulness at the Mindfulness College in Galashiels and when I came across this poem, I knew that it had to be the subject for discussion at the last session – the participants loved it as much as I do.
    I value the comments on your website. Thank you.
    Gilly Beckett

  2. I’m an admirer of the poems I know of Miroslav Holub and have translated “The Door” into French for friends. After much thought , although I know no Czech , I’m not satisfied with the Bloodaxe edition’s translation of the last word of the poem as “draught”. For many, many reasons I think that the rather negatively connated word “draught” would be much better translated as a “breath of air”.

  3. AH, thank you for sharing that Margaret! I wondered about that word ‘draught’, and ‘breath of air’ feels intuitively right to me as well. I wonder if there is a Czech speaker with a view on this… thanks for commenting!

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