Archives for posts with tag: heart
Achilles departure Eretria Painter CdM Paris 851

© Marie-Lan Nguyen / Wikimedia Commons, via Wikimedia Commons

Worn on the sleeve
or exposed at the heel,
	once the organ has surfaced
it is ready to bleed. Transfusion
will occur.


Following on from my experiment earlier this week with clichés, today’s verse explores idioms. It is also influenced by my current read – an engrossing book about ancient Rome and Jerusalem, in which the author mentions the influence of Ancient Greece a great deal. (For those who are interested the book is Martin Goodman’s “Rome & Jerusalem: The Clash of Ancient Civilizations.”)

In popular discourse Achilles’ heel features as metaphor for vulnerability. Similarly, to wear one’s heart on one’s sleeve is to divulge emotional weakness, usually in the form of love. The poem started with an exploration of physical and emotional defencelessness. However, in researching for this post I was reminded that Achilles was a warrior. He was prone to anger and acted to avenge. He lived by the sword and died in combat. (In another version he is shot by the brother of a Trojan princess with whom he is in love, rather than perishing in battle.)

The heart is the seat of courage. Courage derives comes from the Middle English for the seat of feelings. We often think of the heart in connection with love and romance. We seldom think of the heart in connection with rage and the transfer of aggression or avenging slights. That belongs to idioms and clichés about blood (consider “his blood was boiling,” “there was bad blood between them” and “he was spitting blood”). In its quiet way, this poem explores the transfusion of both rage and of love; both of which reflect our lifeblood of passion and our vulnerability.

Twitter: @BeadedQuill
Facebook: BeadedQuill
Books:
In the Ocean: a year of poetry
Emily’s Poems for Modern Boys
Shining in Brightness: Selected Poems, 1999 – 2012

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Little robins cock their heads when 
I pass and stop.
“Hello.” 
I move.
They dart.
The forest birds know not to trust.


This is poem 96 in the lead up to the total of 104. The project is to write two poems a week across 52 weeks (i.e. a year). I reasoned, if I wrote that many poems, some might not be so good, some might be ok and a few might be really interesting. Please look back among the poems I have posted over the last ten months to get an idea of how this theory has panned out.

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Preview the books Emily’s Poems for Modern Boys and Shining in Brightness.

This handmade heart hangs from a nail above my desk. I don’t remember on which day it was given to me, yet it carries more sentimental meaning than any Valentine’s token I’ve ever received. This heart has shadowed many of my poetry journeys. It has travelled with me from Cape Town to San Diego, to South America, to Poland, to the UK the first time around for studies, to the Eastern Cape and has now settled a while here in London. It reminds me, we can give of our creativity in a heartfelt way on any day. 

Here ‘fore me, plinth of polish

For the tree to rest on wood

In flat sheets with fastened thoughts

Set forth as marching words.

 

Heralded tonight and often

They are by crest announced.

We cluster! And applaud.

It is a shared experience.

 

Now, to – I must address:

 

From nothing written

from have

and only have

of a fatted dream now fit for parade

with open palms and empty hands

‘fore that company and polished staff

all suited in investiture

I on tip-toe said,

 

I have nothing written here.

I speak only from my heart.

Of late I have drawn inspiration from a combination of lived and imagined experiences. Today’s poem along with ‘Stuck‘ and ‘Genuine‘ of last week are the products of this current creative “sourcery”.

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My second volume, Emily’s Poems for Modern Boys, is forthcoming. I’ll keep readers posted on progress, so if you’re interested please follow the blog.  See ‘follow’ box at far right of screen.

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She takes to heart her ship

That is upon their advice.

 

Before her and harbour,

In good forecast she sets

Friendship to the friend

As the anchor of relationships.

 

Later she squints through time’s telescope:

Fearful sad that lens. It magnifies

other ways winds blow.

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Wire Heart

Handmade Heart

 

I never got

a heart kitsched out of plump red silk

or fluffy between grinning paws

 

My heart was curved out of wire.

Two little hands threaded rows of beads

terracotta to brown

sienna

sky

verde

vermillion

 

in bedside light my wire-heart hangs

glinting only for me.

 

2002

I have done a great deal of childminding and babysitting in my time. It was a pocket-money making staple during my adolescence. More than ten years ago, I used to look after a little boy. He was incredibly creative and sometimes we would be up at late hours constructing his ‘projects,’ which usually involved hanging things down the stairwell. While he instructed my draping technique, I would be worrying myself about getting him to sleep before his parents came home. One night he and I sat on the floor and devoured a juicy mango, there and then, next to the kitchen cupboards. (We seldom had mangos in my childhood home.)

One evening, when I arrived for my usual duties, he handed over a palm-sized, tissue-paper wrapped gift. I opened it and it was this – a handmade heart shaped out of wire and strung with a rainbow of beads. This heart has lived on bedside tables and hung on my bedposts in three continents and about a dozen countries. It’s one of those objects I would grab if I had to flee from a fire.

I doubt this child, now all grownup, even remembers giving this special gift to me.