Should I Sing or Whistle?

Photo: Red-winged Blackbird 1

I can neither whistle nor sing as beautifully as a red-winged blackbird, but my heart is willing!

One of the most interesting exercises during my quick hospital pajama party the other day was the opportunity to watch while a cardiologist did an echocardiogram on me. I’ve had one or two in times past, but never when I could see the monitor and watch it in progress, let alone ask the person administering it what I was seeing and hearing, and I found it to be a surprisingly charming entertainment, along with the informative aspects. Primary, of course, in its pleasures was to be told that everything seemed entirely operational and quite healthy. Seeing how each chamber was measured and observing the various valves in action, watching the graphic representation of the individual parts’ particular and distinct  rhythms and patterns coalesce into a wonderful zigzag of electrical cheer while hearing the  live sound—this was all intriguing and encouraging in any number of ways.

But even more than my spirits, the actions and sounds of my heart had me feeling both surrounded by and immersed in song and dance. It was a lovely surprise to someone who has never known anything particular about the heart in the abstract, let alone had any chance to experience my own in action. The thrumming of my pulse changed with every move of the technician’s hand, each valve and artery having its own part of the whole melody, singing at its own pitch and speed. The view of each valve seemed like a tiny pantomime synchronized with the sounds, and some valves looked (from the side) for all the world like pairs of arms waving as the hands clapped in joy, or perhaps like the waving movement of an exuberant conductor coaxing a choir to sing; one overhead view was so like a mouth singing along with my own heartbeat that I thought perhaps I was seeing a surrealist movie of some marvelous conga-accompanied south seas musical number.

Today, a few days of rest and healing down the road from any sort of emergency, I am feeling so much better already that I have a slight sense of being ready to burst into song or dance myself, the larger (and far less graceful) embodiment of these inner workings. I won’t, of course, not least because I’d still tire in about two turns or trills. But when the songs, calls, and whistles of the grackles and cicadas, crickets and our newly ensconced red-tailed hawk neighbor ring through the trees, I am pretty nearly guaranteed to join right in myself. I think I’d forgotten how that felt, for a while.

Photo: Red-winged Blackbird 2

Good health is certainly a heartwarming bright spot in the day!

Wriggling with Happiness

Digital illo: My Heart's Aflutter

Heart’s Aflutter

Forgive me if I seem a nutter,

the way I mumble, moon, and mutter,

but I can’t help my palpitating

when my heart is all aflutter.

Pardon that I cling to what’re

rhymes as rife with fat as butter—

maybe even nauseating—

but my heart is all aflutter.

Please absolve me when I putter

aimlessly, and stammer, stutter,

stumble as I’m indicating

that my heart is all aflutter!

Not All is Crystal Clarity

Heart’s Metronome I

Each breath I draw could cauterize my lungs,

The ice in it a straight geometry

Of arrows pointed, or a ladder’s rungs,

Down to the inmost shrinking core of me–

I fear, I fall–I, frightened, inly veer

To shy away from such an icy blast,

And slipping on its planes, so disappear

From my entire future and my past–

And hang suspended in this present cage,

Unstuck from time and yet stuck in it too,

As cold as winter, death, despair or rage,

And all for fear I’ll not be loved by you–

There is no deeper loneliness than this–

That I should feel unloved amidst your

Heart’s Metronome II

One moment in an icy terror’s grip,

And yet the next, I’m bathed in jeweled flame;

How can it be that I may swing and slip

Between two distant worlds whose blazoned name

Engraves in me with equal force and pow’r

Identical, yet attributes apart

Change me by seconds much as by the hour,

Into a whole or broken kind of heart–

Because unfounded did I find my dread

That when you kissed me, elsewhere was your love,

And when I feared it must be null or dead,

It was the spark that made our hearts both move–

So on the instant turn both life and death,

When love enlivens this one dazzling painting from a photo