Friday, September 5, 2014

Things to Consider When Closing a Door

I'm afraid I've discovered a new poet. I'll try to go easy on you, not overdo it. This is the one I started with:

"A Brief Lecture on Door Closers"

Although heretofore unconsidered
in verse or in song, 
the ordinary door closer is, I submit, a device
well worth considering. 
Consisting primarily
of a spring and a piston, in combination, 
here's how it works: 
                  You open a door, 
either pushing or pulling. 
The spring is compressed, the piston extended. 
Now, having passed through the doorway, 
you relinquish control, 
and the door closer takes over. The spring remembers
how it was— 
it wants to return. But the urge is damped
by the resistance the piston encounters, 
snug in its cylinder
filled with hydraulic fluid. 

Such is the mechanism of the door closer, 
invented in 1876
by Charles Norton, when a slamming door
in a courtroom in Cincinnati
repeatedly disrupted
the administration of justice. 

Whether concealed beneath the threshold
or overhead in the head jamb, 
whether surface-mounted as a parallel-arm installation
or as a regular-arm, 
door closers are ever vigilant, 
silently performing their function, rarely

Whereas doors can be metaphorical—as in, 
for example, "He could never unlock
the door to her heart"— 
door closers cannot. 

Remember this when you
pass through, and the door closes behind you
with a soft thud
and final click
as the latchbolt engages the strike.

~ Clemens Starck  (1937), from Traveling Incognito


  1. and hopefully if a door closes another one opens

  2. An eloquent poem. I like your new header pic, Teresa. Look down, look down that long, lonesome road....

    1. Yes, that road still appeals to me ... Thanks for commenting, Tony.

  3. What delightful irony in this:

    "Whereas doors can be metaphorical—as in,
    for example, "He could never unlock
    the door to her heart"—
    door closers cannot."

    This, in the middle of a poem that firmly establishes door closers as a metaphor!

    1. In reading more of his poetry, I find more "delightful irony" in the everyday ... It's part of his eloquence, imo. Door closers inherently have a bit more of the door CLOSER in them ... ;)

  4. I like his poetry - can't help but wonder what his carpentry was like?

  5. Oh, this is wonderful. Wonderful, indeed. Now, dear one, you have introduced me to yet another poet.

  6. Thanks, Teresa. Well crafted and amusing. I like the way the poet thinks and writes. It would be interesting to see what he does with other subjects.

    1. There's something about his "voice" I really like. I found this site with a few other poems that appeal to me in a similar fashion. I don't think links work in the comments, but we'll see:

  7. Perhaps the poet will follow through with more poems that are about the things we don't look at or give much thought to in our daily pursuits. Rather unique -- look forward to more -- barbara

    1. He has ... google him and you will find a few others similar to this one. I really like his view on life.

  8. Dear Teresa, you are showing me poems I never would have seen and so you are expanding my love of poetry. Thank you so much for this. Peace.

  9. I've bumped into this fellow before and he seems to link things together along a track my own mind often follows. Just wonderfully simple and complex simultaneously. Real art for sure. Thank you.

    1. "wonderfully simple and complex simultaneously" ... yes, that is well put ... :)

  10. I can't recall ever having heard of him, so thanks for the introduction. "Although heretofore unconsidered in verse or in song..." Wonderful way to begin a poem.

  11. Being the son of a 30 year Union Glazer a poem that includes a door closer most certainly captured me too. Thank you for the share.