The Manhattan Review
The Manhattan Review
Established 1980

Archive > Vol. 11 no. 2


Toon Tellegen 

“A Door”

Translated from the Dutch by Judith Wilkinson


I came to a door and read:
Thinking About Death Is Forbidden.
I cast down my eyes
and stopped thinking about death.

I went inside and someone cried:
“What are you thinking about now?”
“About nothing.”
“Me too!”
I walked through gardens, climbed mountains,
waded through rivers, got lost in swamps and deserts
and only just managed to find the way back.
I came to the same door and read:
Think Only About Death.

“Are you thinking about it?” I heard someone call.
The scent of honeysuckle, the sun setting.
It was summer, freedom reigned