Thursday, February 20, 2014



My heart is like a dead bush
Whose berries are mute:
My heart is like a bent tree
Whose branches are bent with heavy fruit;
My heart is like an empty shell
That sinks beneath the sea;
My heart is sadder than all these
Because my love has left me.

Raise me a glass of champagne;
Fill it with flair and purple dyes;
Design its label with vibrant impressions,
A colorful intense disguise;
Work it in yellow and green,
In colors and lines reminiscent of my beloved fleur-de-lys;
Because the birth of my new heart
Will emerge when new love finds me.


This poem does not share in the boundless originality of Emily Dickinson. It is far from the solitary sublimity of the handful of Emily Brontë's apocalyptic lyrics, and yet it is a poem of majestic and permanent presence, with a stance reminiscent of Christina Rossetti's elegists of erotic sorrow. 

The touch of champagne is invariably light and bubbly, while the pitch is soft and low, disturbingly felt. And, though very rarely are ecstatic and celebratory thoughts expressed in hushed undertones, the emergence of them in the final stanzas brings us to a happy place whereby their presence is remembered, and longed for. 

This simple remembrance alludes to the potential guilt of the surviving sentiment: hope, a concept which was not perceived as positively by the Ancient Greeks as it is today. 

"My love has left me," is plangent with heartache, while "the birth of my new heart will emerge when new love finds me" is of little comfort, since hope is but a little respite granted by erotic loss. 

The happiest sentiment: "In colors and lines reminiscent of my beloved fleur-de-lys," is where one finds the gracious, gently testifying presence of a uniquely personal aspiration ~ despite the love that was lost, leaving the Reader with an expectation or conviction that assures one that the prospect of love is just beyond the horizon, even if it is not yet present.

One would not normally associate this poem with "happiness" ... but happiness is not only a blissful feeling devoid of other sentiment, happiness is a physical space into which one moves. Happiness surrounds all the other emotions and is there, available for our choosing. Sometimes, as in this poem, we have to search harder for it, but it is there. It appears the moment we fill our minds with happy thoughts. In that brief moment, pain is but a background noise. As with all human sentiment, happiness has to be continually renewed or it fades. However, every time we choose to fill our minds with happy thoughts, we are born anew. Expectation, or birth, is thus the intended sentiment of this poem, and hence its title. 

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