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Wake Forest
University Press

Wake Forest University Press

Dedicated to Irish Poetry

Wake: Up to Poetry

"The act of poetry is a rebel act."

Poem of the Week: “The Pleasures of the Door” by Francis Ponge

"The Pleasures of the Door" by Francis Ponge

This week’s poem captures a moment of the everyday and draws attention to the wealth and beauty within that moment. In “The Pleasures of the Door,” Ponge writes about the joy of being in control of how and when one moves through the world. The tactile imagery and care and detail with which the poem is written make the action feel like a luxury. 

The Pleasures of the Door

      Kings never touch doors. 

      They’re not familiar with this happiness: to push, gently or roughly before you one of these great, friendly panels, to turn towards it to put it back in place—to hold a door in your arms. 

      The happiness of seizing one of these tall barriers to a room by the porcelain knob of its belly; this quick hand-to-hand, during which your progress slows for a moment, your eye opens up and your whole body adapts to its new apartment. 

     With a friendly hand you hold on a bit longer, before firmly pushing it back and shutting yourself in—of which you are agreeably assured by the click of the powerful, well-oiled latch.

Francis Ponge (translated by C.K. Williams), from Selected Poems (1994)


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