The Bleached Stuff of My Heart

The snow melted yesterday.

Watching run-off trickle to the creek,
I felt my crystallized heart slip between
the thawing sinews of my chest.

I cradled its sodden weight in cold-stiffened hands
and waded through mud into the yard.

Channeling some Nordic shield maiden,
I hacked and drove two splints of wood
into the grit of half-frozen earth.

Now there are two masts to tie a line between.
I will not carve a dragon head to frighten foes to come.
I will not line the bulwarks with bravely painted shields.

I will quietly drape the bleached stuff of my heart
across this cord to dry.

I will sit in the watery sun and
what summer feels like.


36 responses to “The Bleached Stuff of My Heart

  1. You have a beautiful heart, darling. That was amazing — I loved the analogy of hanging your cold and soggy heart up to dry. It reminded me so much of one of my favourite “Christmas” songs — I put that in quotes because it’s not a traditional Christmas song, but rather one by a favourite artist of mine who decided one year to write his own Christmas album.
    This song will make you cry, just be warned.

    • Did you see my special tag on this post? “This one’s for Helena.” I may not do Smurfette stories on command, but I will write poems.

      I went and looked up the lyrics to this song, and now I’m afraid to listen to it at work. Tears will flow, so better I save this for when I’m snuggled up tonight! But, thank you in advance, and a question: when are you going to make me an extensive list of the music I should be listening to? Many friends have tried over the years, but your taste matches mine much better than any of theirs – I will never love rap or country, I just won’t – so you have to be my musical spirit guide, I think.

  2. “Now there are two masts to tie a line between.
    I will not carve a dragon head to frighten foes to come.
    I will not line the bulwarks with bravely painted shields.

    I will quietly drape the bleached stuff of my heart
    across this cord to dry.” – gorgeously beautifull, Jennie!

    • I’ve been watching “Vikings” on the History Channel. It’s free to stream the entire first season – I’ve gotten a bit obsessed with Lagertha, the shield maiden character. And yes, oh yes, I am so ready to be warm and run outside without a second thought for scarves or gloves.

    • You and my husband are clearly twins separated at birth. You both hate sandals and love ice and – despite these ill-advised quirks – I’m really fond of both of you. The gig is up!

      • Awww…thank you, baby-girl. 🙂

        We always have cooler temps than Tucson, thank Goddess, because we are at 4500 feet above sea-level. But, yeah, it’s hitting the mid 70s here in Sedona today.

        We’ve been setting records for a week now with this warm weather. It’s really unusual weather for Feb. We’ve had hardly any snow and very little precip this year, which brings with it lots of other concerns.

        But, for today, I’m heading out on my Harley in a bit. I’ll be sure to soak up some sun for you and will send the vibes over to you. It’s almost over for the cold and snow, babe. Hang in there. Course, you could always just move here and hang with your Lizzy. Just sayin’. 🙂 WARM hugs, my Jennie-babe!

          • OMG, Jennie! This is the friggen’ BEST!!! I totally LOVE it!! I am printing out a copy for my altar!! 🙂 You are so, so incredible, sis. Your talents are many. Your heart and the love you share with others is so awesome. I mean it. Mmmm…today’s ride was pure heaven. I was carrying you with me the whole time. Your spirit was right there with me, flying down the road, grabbing on, and smiling like nobody’s business! I can still feel you, sis. Best day EVER! XOXO

          • Yay! That makes me so happy! The altar addition but especially knowing that when you say you carried me along for the ride, you mean every word. I love you. And I have a feeling you have LOTS of best days ever! 🙂

  3. Just a lovely piece that evokes hope and warmth. Winter weather is continuing to visit us again here in the Northeast. Even us natives want a break from the mountains of plowed snow and mornings’ black ice. We have already gone through 75 pounds of ice melt!

    • I don’t know how you do it. That makes me sound soft and fragile, but fine – it’s true! What makes the Northeast worth the cold?

      (Fair’s fair – if you want, you can ask me in return what would possess me to live south of the Mason-Dixon line, in a place where the Mason-Dixon line is still a big deal!)

      • The change in seasons is what we expect even when we are tired of the winter’s whiteness and chill. My youngest son is known to say “I’m done with summer, time for fall!”
        We do pride ourselves on being “tough” at times but those who live in the upper Midwest have got to have thicker skin!

        Having traveled your way, I would be tempted to ask that question! BUT I would not want to sound like an elitist Northeaster! Nor would I presume that everyone has the exact same values. Often it is the powers that be hold fast to stereotypes.

        • My husband is originally from Chicago, so he hates the heat, doesn’t like much comfort food (he really hates grits and boiled peanuts), and he doesn’t always understand the beautiful dichotomy that is created by combining the best of Southern tradition with a modern, more liberal view of the wider world. Growing up in the South, you come to appreciate grey areas – people aren’t black and white, and you’ve got to love them for the shades of grey you can find beauty in.

          • Exactly! People make grand assumptions about my values and politics because of where I am from. I can say for certain that I have strong convictions and beliefs based on my life experiences and the way I was raised. My compassion and deep empathy for others comes from my folks. But I refused to be labeled a liberal even if I do lean left (whatever that means) on social issues. And no one would ever think of me as conservative anyway (again, whatever that means!).

            I just know that it has become increasingly difficult to have a civil conversation compared to when I was in my teens and twenties. Seems like being a hater is more in fashion.

            I like what you said about the beautiful dichotomy. There is beauty in all our traditions that can easily be meshed with the wide, wide world!

  4. Will the snowflakes ever melt away? Real or metaphorical? I can’t remember what summer feels like. What is summer? Another 3″ starting at midnight. Please send help.

    I still have my award to post. I have NOT forgotten! Do not misinterpret my negligence as disinterest and a lack of appreciation. As if.

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