When I think about the heart, I tend to be scientific, worrying about plaque and hardened arteries. But when trouble strikes, I put a steadying hand on my chest. Indeed, the ancients believed this organ was the center of human emotion, and poets wasted no time weaving their magic.
"Accept the seasons of your heart, even as you have always accepted the seasons that pass over your fields."
--Khalil Gibran, The Prophet (1923)
A heart can be stolen, buried, blessed, and stomped flat. It can be courageous, cold, warm, chicken, tell-tale, or laid bare. Some are hard, made of stone, glass, or lead--and they have cockles.
Cupid can shoot arrows into a heart, which is a violent, extreme way to get someone's attention. I mean, really. What does a naked, winged baby know about love?
You can even give away its key (just make sure you can change the locks).
"Above all else, guard your heart,
for everything you do flows from it."
Poetry aside, some idioms aren't romantic: hearts can bleed, ache, leap into your mouth, or be eaten by jealousy.
And yet, I believe with all my heart that the poets were right. When I see something I love on Instagram, I reply with a ❤.
My whole history has been felt inside my chest. I have known love and lost it. I found my heart's desire, only to lose it, too.
But I have also danced with the angels.
In your narrowing dark hours
That more things move
Than blood in the heart."
--Louise Bogan, "Night," from The Blue Estuaries (1968)