What the Heart Wants

stone heart 2

“The heart wants what it wants . . . .”

     ~ Emily Dickinson

The heart wants blood & proper plumbing
un-clogged arteries
electricity thrumming
a steady rhythm.

It’s a muscle
after all
little mouse of soft tissue
no bigger than a fist
wanting us to eschew
the fat
to move ourselves
in vigorous exercise
to breath deeply
of clean air.

A heart cannot live
on metaphors
that speak 
of love
and longing
words best left
to poets
& to time.

18 thoughts on “What the Heart Wants

  1. I love pulling out that Dickinson quote now and again, but it’s an easy, pat answer often used when what I want isn’t good for me. Rigorous exercise is not only good for the heart but also clears the head. Great poem.


    • Thanks. I, too, have used that quote many times. I just joined a fitness group with some other writer friends, I think that’s why I thought about the “heart” so differently this time. 🙂


  2. ‘A heart cannot live on metaphors’ too true and so easily forgotten in a world of raging metaphors.
    Nothing replaces real words of encouragement and love. Words that forgive and forget and that inspire.
    Thanks for the poem, it is lovely to read someone’s work. I can imagine you writing and thinking about the poem and that is really like a meal.B


    • Thank you BH. I like that you imagine me writing and thinking about the poem and that’s it like a meal – if only I could maintain my corporal self on such a meal. I would be a happy, happy person, indeed.


  3. So much to love in this post, Mary.
    you’ve made the physical function of the heart sound so beautiful!
    Can you tell me more about the photograph?


    • Thank you, Laurie. I researched the heart to understand the physiology of how it works in order to write about it. The photo is of a rock I discovered last summer on the side of my driveway. I’ve lived in this house for over 20 years and never noticed the rock before then. Amazing, isn’t it? Of course, I played with color and filters as I am wont to do with my photos, looking more for the emotion than what is real. It’s the painter in me. I can’t help myself.


      • and the looking for emotion leads to wonderful results! Glad you can’t help yourself 🙂
        How cool that the rock just caught your eye that day.


  4. You spoke to both sides of my brain with this beautiful poem. The clinician in me has always been amazed by the heart’s anatomy and physiology. The writer in me adores the words you crafted to capture it. Bravo!!


  5. I love this poem. Have to admit though, my heart loves fat. Especially ice cream. Maybe it doesn’t want to linger, but to go out with a bang.

    Seriously, this is wonderful.


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