Everything Has a Heart

Jun 12, 2020

Today’s poem is "Everything Has a Heart" by Deborah Cummins. She’s the author of two poetry collections and a collection of essays that was a finalist for 2013 Maine Book Award in Non-Fiction. Her poems and essays have been featured in nine anthologies and numerous journals and magazines. 

She writes, “In the weeks and months following 9/11, I often felt an urge to write a poem that somehow spoke to what happened on that terrible day and the mourning that followed. I didn’t have much success. Later that fall, on a gorgeous day as blue and gold as the one that had dawned in early September, I was planting spring bulbs in my garden. I became mindful of the solace I was finding in the beauty of the world going on, of how putting bulbs in the ground with their promise of spring bloom felt like an act of faith. In a rather oblique way, this became the poem I’d sought earlier to write.”

Everything Has a Heart
by Deborah Cummins

This bulb’s hidden tulip
with its single throb of color.
Wild plum spilling a windfall
of crimson fruit. A crow, oddly quiet,
ruffling its iridescence from a branch 
of the oak. The oak itself, its gash
where a woody knot boils out.

In my garden, leaning into my shovel, 
trusting in rain, roots and time, 
I remind myself everything has a heart – 
even God, I’m told, who holds
the match to a new season’s light, 
ratchets up the wind as though it carries
unfinished dreams, untold stories, 

and who, I’m to believe, is directing
the wild geese in their familiar ruckus 
as they write across the sky in a broken line,
turning south, east, south again, 
their only intention to catch 
a good thermal, to sing hard,
high above the earth.

Poem copyright © 2019 by Deborah Cummins.