Phantom Heart

IMG_3737 - Version 2

Phantom Heart

When I gave you my heart, I gave it for keeps,
though soon you were gone as far as fall leaves
blown on a wild wind, leaving a chill–
taking my heart where you keep it still.

Yet here I’m left wondering, why my chest it hurts so–
with no heart to ache, my breast full hollow.
I fear in your pocket it’s squeezed till it’s burst,
bruised by loose change and pen knife and worse.

Or maybe it pains ‘cause you’ve lost it somewhere–
a one-hour hotel, by a bed that you shared–
where the heart that was mine is half-choked by dust,
the half that is left made sick by your lust–

Oh how could I give up the one heart I owned
to a man whose own heart was harder than stone–
maybe that’s why it weighs so heavily now
that heart that you’ve taken in tow, in tow–
that gone heart that still beats me so–

A ballad, a song, ditty for my own prompt on With Real Toads to write something inspired by the work of Dr. Oliver Sacks.  (Here, thinking of phantom limb syndrome.)  (Sorry to recycle the elephant–and older one of mine–a print made by painting on a glass plate and pressing it on paper.)


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13 Comments on “Phantom Heart”

  1. coalblack Says:

    So sad, and so completely relatable.

  2. I love the rhythm and rhyme of this, especially the closing lines – and that adorable elephant!

  3. Kerry O'Connor Says:

    What an excellent metaphor for the kind of heartbreak or separation one feels with loss. I can relate to the notion of a phantom heart.

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      Thanks, Kerry– the whole phenomenon of phantom limb pain is something I find both fascinating and painful. What a crazy thing. Thanks for your beautiful poem The Anthropologists Table. K.


  4. I feel this is like it feels.. the broken is maybe less true then its weight.. yes this one should be sung.

  5. X Says:

    Ha. For a song of heartbreak it has an interesting contrast in the fun rhythm. We have to be careful with our hearts. Sometimes I think we give them away too easy, and before we know it they are gone. Or at least a part of them. And how horrible it feels that they are off giving away what we gave them to someone else. Were we just a moment of release for them. And why was it that it meant to much more to us, and not them?

  6. hedgewitch Says:

    This does feel very song-like to me, the sort of lament that aches for singer and hearer both. The rhyme drives things home in the way that songs do, rhythmically and percussively, as do the various elements in your language–I especially like ‘my breast full hollow’–and the image of the heart in someone’s pocket who has carried it away forgetfully, and really has no use for it, rattling around with pen knives and loose change–ouch!–and of course, the last lines are full of the lover’s pathos, that as Shay says is both so sad and so universal.

  7. Rommy Says:

    It definitely has an old folksy ballad like feel to it, despite the more modern imagery like the one hour hotel bed. That line especially is very sad – bitter, but an eyes wide open acknowledgement of the person to whom they gave their heart to.

  8. So glad you took the leap. The phrase “for keeps” is one that some of us used in childhood, and it still carries the uncynical, youthful glow here. Amy

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