Heart to Heart Rita Dove, 1952

https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poem/heart-heart

It’s neither red
nor sweet.
It doesn’t melt
or turn over,
break or harden,
so it can’t feel
pain,
yearning,
regret.

It doesn’t have
a tip to spin on,
it isn’t even
shapely—
just a thick clutch
of muscle,
lopsided,
mute. Still,
I feel it inside
its cage sounding
a dull tattoo:
I want, I want—

but I can’t open it:
there’s no key.
I can’t wear it
on my sleeve,
or tell you from
the bottom of it
how I feel. Here,
it’s all yours, now—
but you’ll have
to take me,
too.

 

My take on this poem:

The heart isn’t actually red or sweet or “heart shaped”.It is just a muscle that pumps blood. It doesn’t actually feel emotions.It doesn’t physically melt or harden or soften because of the way I feel.It can’t voice its opinions, but I still feel as though my heart is bursting with things I want.I can’t actually open it or lock it because there is no physical key. I can’t wear it on my sleeve or retrieve words that describe how I feel, because it doesn’t record how I feel. And even though there is no logical explanation for it, I want to give you my heart, but i cannot only give you my heart, “you’ll have to take me too.”

 

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