Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Because It Is My Heart (Poem)

Because It Is My Heart

Because it is bitter,
I think I need to ask

about taste buds,
what makes them ripple

on the accepting tongue,
resist sour so naturally,

go for peppermint's cooling
sensation when heat's

what the body's craving.
If I could trace through

my heart the geography
of highs and lows, mine it

with nerve receptors, code
it with a warning gene

to pass on in my DNA,
would love still tripwire

the explosion of sweet
in the spoils of a mouth dry,

make the eye so much better
at sorting sugar from salt?

© 2011, 2012 Maureen E. Doallas
_________________________________

The title and first line are an inversion of two lines from Stephen Crane's poem "In the Desert".

15 comments:

Louise Gallagher said...

This is heart-breakingly beautiful.

That is a very, very difficult question you ask.

Sandra Heska King said...

What Louise said.

Somehow I think it's the sour and the bitter along with the sweet when mixed properly that can cause love to explode.

I love your heart.

Kathleen Overby said...

Can't say it any better than Louise.

Danny Earl Simmons said...

I enjoyed this poem very much.

hedgewitch said...

The Crane poem--stark and uncompromising, unforgettable once read--is a springboard for a more tenuous and tentacled look at things, shades of extremes, fates, desires. The perversity of the heart's very nature well expressed in your contrasting images of specific tastes. Just a fine poem, Maureen.

S. Etole said...

Sometimes I have to leave and come back later ... this was one of those times.

Brian Miller said...

very nice delve into the contrasts maureen...i tend to go hot or sour myself...but this stretches far beyond mere taste...smiles.

Semaphore said...

One of the things I like about your poems is your consistent - and yet subtle - use of science to amplify your poetic perspective. Here, you evoke the range of taste buds from sweet to sour to bitter, and use it to reinforce the theme. Well done.

nance marie said...

open your heart and say ahhhhh.
lookin' good.

Ruth said...

It is a whole, isn't it. Some wonderful language here: peppermint, my heart the geography, tripwire, mouth dry. Simple and very lovely.

Hannah Stephenson said...

This is an excellent poem, with really fascinating questions.

Yesterday, in my class, I asked students what creates such different tastes in us for art and ideas. One guy said "taste buds," so we talked about how our idea/creative taste buds get formed.

It goes back to this idea of perception/attraction.....

jen revved said...

A beautiful poem not so obliquely speaking to regret and hunger; dare we keep on tasting when we mistake salt for sugar? I know this dilemma--

Because it is bitter,
I think I need to ask

about taste buds,
what makes them ripple

on the accepting tongue,..

wonderful. xxxj

Beachanny said...

Yes Joy and Sam said things I would have said. I knew the crane poem, of course. Because of the complex history of the sexes, this poem takes on in such a compressed way the volume of bitterness, sweetness, need and rejection that is bequeathed to every next generation. Excellent, excellent write as always, Maureen.

Margaret said...

would love still tripwire

the explosion of sweet
in the spoils of a mouth dry,

make the eye so much better
at sorting sugar from salt?


What an ingenious poem! Loved it.

Dolly@ Soul Stops said...

Very clever...Thank you!