Just a poem

Our newborn hearts are conker-sized
Strawberry pink
We feast at mother’s breast
Basking in the love, instinctively, we know
And our strawberry hearts glow. 

Our scrawny fingers grip tight on Mum’s
Toothie pegs force their way through gums.
Mum, wincing, reckons ‘it’s time to wean the wee-un,’
Dad chuckles as his finger gets bitten.

We gurgle as our tubby tummies
Are raspberried in the kitchen sink bath,
Splash Mum, and soaked, Mum laughs.
We take teetering tottering steps –
Armchair, coffee table, knees.
Reaching for outstretched arms and praise,
Leaving finger stains on jeans
To mark exactly where we’ve been.
We live those years in a rainbow land
Until at play a bully’s hand
Blacks an eye and makes us cry.

And our heart shrinks – just a little.
And hardens – just a little
But not enough to notice.
At school, our acne, buck-teeth,
Sticking-out ears or ginger hair
Attract braying bullies’ attention.
We hit back and get detention.

And our heart shrinks – just a little.
And hardens – just a little
But not enough to notice.
We fail at exams and fail at love.
Our glowing heart grows ever colder
They say, “It’s part of getting older.”
We get a job – lose a job.
Get a spouse – louse that up too.
Not much of that newborn
Fresh fruit flesh survives,
Our heart returns to strawberry size
Granite rock. Heavy. Leaden.
We raise our children
Watching their hearts wax and wane
Shrugging, “it’s the way of the world”
Biting our lips and wishing it wasn’t.
We yearn, if we can remember how,
To dwell again in that place of wonder
Where everything amazed us,
Before the magic that surrounded us
Was turned to ashes
Bitter dust.
I want that strawberry heart back.
If God is dead there is no way
So I’ll take another to my bed.
Or head for vodkablivion instead.

© coolhermit 2023
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critique and comments welcome.
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Now now you’ll not find the answer in a bottle, although it doesn’t hurt to look, I think you have it all in this one a nice catalog of events and imagery of the heart. Great title too. Best Keith

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