Prayer of the Heart

[Revised from original post]

I'm not sure what this meter is. It's supposed to be iambic pentameters, but I'm struggling with hearing the beat: da-dum. Maybe it's dactyls. Poetry is hard!

You all know the story, how Descartes read
In Harvey of Caius that the heart pumps blood
And came to insist that that's all it does.
For ages now, we've believed this about
Our hearts, that they were just muscular pumps,
Nothing to do with our feelings or souls.
Now it turns out that patients with transplants
Tend to begin to resemble their donors
Harboring hopes, thoughts, memories and fears
Not their own, almost as if the hearts told
Them their secrets just by pumping their blood.
Da-dum, da-dum, da-dum, da-dum, da-dum.
Perhaps, after all, all those pictures of
Christ, baring his heart for love of the world
Are more than just metaphors. What if the
Heart really is the seat of the soul that
Bleeds when we grieve for our loved ones and
Clots when we cut ourselves off from the God
Who is Love? Create in me a clean heart,
O God; renew a right spirit within me.

Something to think about while shopping for chocolates in the next week, with thanks to Barbara for telling me about the research on the heart transplant patients.

Comments

  1. Why try so hard to write iambic pentameter or dactyls. Write the poem as you hear it and if we don't like it or don't understand then we suck because we failed to meet your mind. I try everyday.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Stephen Fry makes the argument better than I can, but the thing that makes poetry poetry is its structure. Iambic pentameter is the meter that many of our greatest poets (Shakespeare, Donne) have used. Ideally, you should not be aware of the meter, if it is properly used. I am telling you which meters I am attempting in part so as to make you aware of the fact that poetry is not just a random expression of images that one feels, but like all art, highly crafted. You may have the impression that my prose blog posts are less structured, but they aren't really. I just don't announce "essay" each time, but if you pay attention, you will see how they tend to build in a fairly regular way. If you don't notice the structure, good for me: it works!

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