The Heart Under Your Heart

by Craig Arnold

Who gives his heart away too easily must have a heart
under his heart.
—James Richardson

The heart under your heart
is not the one you share
so readily so full of pleasantry
& tenderness

it is a single blackberry
at the heart of a bramble
or else some larger fruit
heavy the size of a fist

it is full of things
you have never shared with me
broken engagements bruises
& baking dishes

the scars on top of scars
of sixteen thousand pinpricks
the melody you want so much to carry
& always fear black fear

or so I imagine you have never shown me
& how could I expect you to
I also have a heart beneath my heart
perhaps you have seen or guessed

it is a beach at night
where the waves lap & the wind hisses
over a bank of thin
translucent orange & yellow jingle shells

on the far side of the harbor
the lighthouse beacon
shivers across the black water
& someone stands there waiting


  1. I've been enjoying all of the Woodstock videos this week.

  2. Thanks, Rudee. I have too. At the time I took it all for granted, thinking it would always be like this, and how would we know?? We were kids. It's odd to see everyone so young again and see the hope and fervor we had in our intentions.
    I look at some of the kids in the crowds wondering if they went on to get their MBA's and work on Wall Street. "...for the life of me I cannot remember what made us think that we were wise and would never compromise.." I literally was a freshman in high school:>)

  3. This poem made me cry unexpectedly...

    The ending crushed me for some reason...

  4. Wonderful, wonderful poem. I'd never seen that clip of CSN doing Blackbird--lovely! Have you ever read Yeats's "Never Give All the Heart"?

  5. No, I hadn't read it, so I Googled it up just now. Yeats always did get it true and straight, didn't he?
    And, sorry Justin, it is a little sad, and/or truthful. To me, it simply expresses how we hold "stuff" back as we get older and not give it all away as we did when we first gave our hearts to someone. I think most of us found we needed to keep a bit aside in case we needed to rebuild it again. Isn't that what cooks used to do with yeast?? I'll have to ponder on that:>)

  6. Oooo Lordy, got me a set of goose bumps...smiles.

  7. The last time I heard that song was at the spring memorial for a lovely young woman who died from a years-long struggle with a rare form of cancer. In the celebration of her life, I was reminded that each generation has its pioneers into the future, the true believers in beauty, the stubborn who won't give up their dreams. I hope that some of that spirit from my own Woodstock-era youth is still alive in me.

  8. First, I didn't know CSN did "Blackbird," either (it's a song I love). Second, but not least, that is a wonderful poem & I like your interpretation of it. Thank you for this--and to Erin for the Yeats. He did "always get it true and straight." But I'll be back for Mr. Arnold again...


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Hey, thanks for your thoughts and your time:>)

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