1. Pericardium

    Am I not alone, as I thought I was, as I thought
    The day was, the hour I walked into, morning
    When I felt night fly from my chest where prospect had
    Slackened, and close itself off, understanding, as I thought I did,
    That the ground would resist my legs and not let them
    Break nor let them be released into air as my heart, in its
    Muscle, might be released from the body that surrounds it,
    Like someone who, placing a hand on a shoulder’s
    Blade, felt a life move inside an hour and a day
    Break from the day the hour meant something more than weakness,
    More than fear, and flew forward into the depths of
    Prospect, your arms, where you’d been, before me, waiting
    For me, the way the body has always been waiting for the heart to sense
    It is housed, it is needed, it will not be harmed.

    by Joanna Klink

  2. The Heart of a Woman

    The heart of a woman goes forth with the dawn,
    As a lone bird, soft winging, so restlessly on,
    Afar o’er life’s turrets and vales does it roam
    In the wake of those echoes the heart calls home.

    The heart of a woman falls back with the night,
    And enters some alien cage in its plight,
    And tries to forget it has dreamed of the stars
    While it breaks, breaks, breaks on the sheltering bars.

    by Georgia Douglas Johnson

  3. I Taught Myself To Live Simply

    I taught myself to live simply and wisely,
    to look at the sky and pray to God,
    and to wander long before evening
    to tire my superfluous worries.
    When the burdocks rustle in the ravine
    and the yellow-red rowanberry cluster droops
    I compose happy verses
    about life’s decay, decay and beauty.
    I come back. The fluffy cat
    licks my palm, purrs so sweetly
    and the fire flares bright
    on the saw-mill turret by the lake.
    Only the cry of a stork landing on the roof
    occasionally breaks the silence.
    If you knock on my door
    I may not even hear.

    By Anna Akhmatova

  4. The Heart Breaking

    It gave a piteous groan, and so it broke;
    In vain it something would have spoke:
    The love within too strong for ‘t was,
    Like poison put into a Venice-glass.

    I thought that this some remedy might prove;
    But oh, the mighty serpent Love,
    Cut by this chance in pieces small,
    In all still liv’d, and still it stung in all.

    And now, alas! each little broken part
    Feels the whole pain of all my heart;
    And every smallest corner still
    Lives with that torment which the whole did kill.

    Even so rude armies, when the field they quit,
    And into several quarters get;
    Each troop does spoil and ruin more
    Than all join’d in one body did before.

    How many Loves reign in my bosom now!
    How many loves, yet all of you!
    Thus have I chang’d with evil fate
    My Monarch-love into a Tyrant-state.

    by Abraham Cowley