The Heart Would Make Itself Known
The heart, turned inward, cries out for a form,
    A shape, that’s worthy of its mortal pulse,
And finds the bodies that come back unwarm,
    Nothing to make another’s breast convulse
      But just such props as gulls and sea and sky
      Or other things that almost seem to lie.

Grow silent. Study now and see what comes.
    Allow the dark to guide you like a palm
Set firmly on the nape; to what it hums,
    Just listen. Do not try to speak. Sit calm.
      Perhaps such senseless stillness may impress
      On us the heart’s desire for holiness.

But at that thought, a drum beats in your head,
    Bassoons and basses blow or pluck their strings,
And visions summon up the rising dead
    Who wear their ragged clothes, who still wear rings
      Because the flesh is like the tarnished cup
      In which all sacred wine must be borne up.

The landscape painter, in a field of green,
    Will squiggle in the figure of a girl;
However blurred, we know what those strokes mean:
    The human form, rather than light or pearl
      Or other precious vagaries, alone
      Can make the heart to other hearts be known.


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The Return

An original poem by James Matthew Wilson

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