The Poem

A poem by Adrienne Rich titled “Prospective Immigrants Please Note” (1962) captures the challenges and possibilities associated with making important decisions about life—choosing a career path, pursuing a passion, responding to a calling, or encountering a new doorway.

Either you will
go through this door
or you will not go through.

If you go through
there is always the risk
of remembering your name.

Things look at you doubly
and you must look back
and let them happen.

If you do not go through
it is possible
to live worthily

to maintain your attitudes
to hold your position
to die bravely

but much will blind you,
much will evade you,
at what cost who knows?

The door itself
makes no promises.
It is only a door.


Dr. Sheila Kennedy Discusses and Recites "Prospective Immigrants Please Note".

“Prospective Immigrants Please Note”, Copyright © 2016 by the Adrienne Rich Literary Estate. Copyright © 1967, 1963 by Adrienne Rich, from COLLECTED POEMS: 1950-2012 by Adrienne Rich. Used by permission of W. W. Norton & Company, Inc.

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