Poetry Sunday: Exit by Rita Dove

I was peddling my stationary bike and looking out on a gray, dreary January day while listening to music by the Eagles, when the lyrics from one of their songs sent my mind veering off on a tangent, considering the life of a certain famous woman who shall be nameless. 

The song was "Lyin' Eyes" and the lyric that started me thinking goes, in part: "She wonders how it ever got this crazy...  Ain't it funny how your new life didn't change things? You're still the same old girl you used to be."

She's a woman whose life, at least from the outside, looks sad, tangled, and humiliating. Maybe that's not a true picture; for her sake, I hope not. But I was pondering how easy - or how hard - it might be for her to escape her situation. What she needs is a visa granting her passage out of the life she currently inhabits and into a new beginning.

And then I sat down to pick a poem for this week and this is the first thing I saw. Karma!


by Rita Dove

Just when hope withers, the visa is granted. 
The door opens to a street like in the movies, 
clean of people, of cats; except it is your street 
you are leaving. A visa has been granted, 
'provisionally' - a fretful word. 
The windows you have closed behind 
you are turning pink, doing what they do 
every dawn. Here it's gray. The door 
to the taxicab waits. This suitcase, 
the saddest object in the world. 
Well, the world's open. And now through 
the windshield the sky begins to blush 
as you did when your mother told you 
what it took to be a woman in this life. 


  1. Hmmm...Deep stuff. I'm not sure I like it but it's deep.

    1. I think the poet is writing about a young woman - possibly herself - who finds herself in a situation in life that she wants to get out of, and just when she's about to lose hope, she sees a way (a visa) forward. The suitcase, "the saddest object in the world," represents her memories of the past that she wants to leave behind. And, finally, it seems that she finds hope in remembering her mother explaining to her "what it took to be a woman in this life." I agree - it is deep.

  2. Wow! Intro by you: a fine story. Poem: a gem.


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