Dollhouses and Doors

Monday Morning Musings:

“We do on stage things that supposed to happen off. Which is a kind of integrity, if you look on every exit as being an entrance somewhere else.”

–Tom Stoppard, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead

 “The Heart

has many Doors.”

–Emily Dickinson

Full poem here.

“our home has been nothing but a playroom. I have been your doll-wife, just as at home I was father’s doll-child; and her the children have been my dolls.”

–Henrik Ibsen, A Doll’s House



The heart I’m told has four chambers,

but every chamber must have a door

and so,

blood flows,

love comes, it goes,

the doors of the heart beat open, then close. . .


We go to the theater,

drink coffee before closed doors–


FullSizeRender 327

they soon open,


A Doll’s House, Arden Theatre, Philadelphia

taking us to a nineteenth-century

that seems contemporary–

how shocking the play must have been then,

it’s hints of sexuality, as well as the dissolution of a marriage.

We are caught up in others’ lives,

the doorbell rings,

people enter and exit,

the audience gasps at Torvald’s remarks,

feels Nora’s awakening

pauses, then exhales

with “the door slam heard round the world.”

We applaud, then exit, too,

down the stairs

and out into the cold.

Winter folds its icy heart around the city.


We walk and talk

past the ghosts of Christ Church


through another door


to drink more coffee.


I think of doll houses and dolls. . .


Our daughters used to play with dolls and doll houses,

tip-tapping the small figures round tiny chairs and tables

and in and out of rooms

without real doors to open or shut–

but who’s to say it wasn’t real,

a man-doll named John,

a piece of a wooden chair named Pumpernickel,

(we never knew why)

the mini American Girl dolls

they were all real,

weren’t they? At least for a time?

A door opened, unfastened hearts and minds,

as I remember . . .


a doll has no heart,

except for that which is given by love,

or perhaps they create their own hearts

and perhaps they make ours grow

as they enter our lives and exit,

leaving the door ajar for others find their way in.


We open doors,

we close doors

sometimes we perch upon them

never noticing how precarious it can be,


life, opening and closing–

sometimes we carry our hearts right through a doorway,

and keep on going.



I’m told that people can die from broken hearts,

like Debbie Reynolds after Carrie Fisher died,

the heart no longer beats,

the four chambers, silent.

The doors of the heart open and close—

until they open and close no more—

Exits and entrances.

Another dollhouse.

Another doll.




There was also this.


For those outside of the U.S., yesterday was Super Bowl Sunday. My local team, the Philadelphia Eagles won. It was a big deal, and even family members and friends who are not particular sports fans were excited. I made my husband goodies to eat, and sat with him for about half an hour, but I then went upstairs to watch other shows and read.




30 thoughts on “Dollhouses and Doors

  1. As long as there are doors to open as well as close. I love your musings. They seem to bring back my week too, which is strange, given the circumstances 🙂 Ireland beat France at rugby, but it wasn’t a big deal—the French team is pretty useless at present.

  2. It was a good game, and I was thrilled to see the Eagles win. I haven’t talked with him yet (will call him after lunch which is our usual time) but I’m sure my father must be flying high this morning.
    Wonderful musings, as always. I love the comparison of the chambers of the heart with doors. 🙂

  3. Love your musings. I am ecstatic that the Eagles won. I am on the side of anyone that beats the Patriots. Once again though, my Chiefs bombed out in the playoffs. I’m getting pretty tired of saying ,”just wait til’ next year.)

  4. Your theme is riveting today, even as your city is going bonkers over the BIG WIN. I watched some magical plays by the Eagles last night and then snuck into my den to catch the latest episode of Victoria. I wonder if you did the same.

  5. The dollhouse memories made me smile. My younger daughter still has her (handed down from older sister) dollhouse, and a few dolls too. We never finish with those doors and thresholds, or those chambers in the heart…(K)

    • Thanks so much, Kerfe. Yes, there are always doors, aren’t there?
      That is so cool that your younger daughter still has her dollhouse. My daughters don’t have a dollhouse, but they do still have lots of dolls in boxes here!

  6. I’m reading and re-reading this poem. So much here. When a door closes, another opens. When a door opens, does another close? Our hearts are as one, yet they are many chambered. I do believe we can die of a broken heart. May ours stay happily chambered and opened until it’s time for them to close …. to a new door. xo

  7. I was excited for the Eagles’ win!! Yay! What a good wife making snacks and keeping him company, too.
    I have seen Henrik Ibsen’s “A Doll House” more than twice. I love it (a little) more than Shakespeare’s, “Taming of the Shrew.” Yay for Katherine and Nora!

      • I’m sure it made him feel good when you sat and watched 1/2 hour plus made him snacks, Merril. I like “Kiss Me, Kate,” “Taming of the Shrew,” and Nora’s character from this Ibsen play. I wonder if I ever wrote about them on my blog. . .

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