Letter: Hearts and words

Tuesday, December 12, 2017
Hearts and words

As long as there is a rough beast, there will be a human heart, short-lived as a butterfly and fragile as its wing yet strengthened and made whole by the very weaknesses that break it.

Perhaps every generation allows to rise the same beast with a new face, but every beast is eventually devoured by the hope of those same people. Hope – this too is history repeating itself.

Everything is more vulnerable than we have been taught or choose to believe, and there really are no optimists and pessimists but two voices with different yet equal truths. We think if we believe that something is unbreakable, indestructible, it will be. We melt down the natural to create a more powerful ore with which to make armor all the while forgetting that there is no armor that will protect the fallible, traitorous yet essential heart that makes life possible. This heart can be crushed by a word.

It is fortunate, then, that hope is powerful because it is fragile. Something so essential needs vigilance to protect it and what better to increase vigilance than a rough beast come to claim the only thing that makes existence possible – hope.

Mary Oliver writes, “For poems are not words, after all, but fires for the cold . . . something as necessary as bread in the pockets of the hungry.” She writes this because she knows that the heart that can be crushed with a word is the heart that can be inspired by one.