It's just poetry, it won't bite

The Wild Heart

05.27.18 Posted in today's words by

vox poetica dedicates this poem, “The Wild Heart” by our managing editor Nathan Gunter, to the graduates of the class of 2018:

The Wild Heart
By Nathan Gunter

Loving doesn’t frighten me at all. It
doesn’t occur to me
to be afraid. So I leap
ass-first cannonball
into this river every time,
and I let it carry me away.

This reckless, rolling current
has stranded me at sea,
dashed my body against the
sharpest of shoals,
and carried me
so far from home,
but it has never left me broken,
and it has always led me back.

I watch you on the shore
terrified of this stream
walking your feet bloody
to try to find a way around.
There is none. There
is only the water.
Loving shouldn’t frighten you at all.

Grab the lightning bolt brilliant before you—
you are grounded; it will burn
away the basest of your cowardice
and the coarsest of your edges
until what is left is brave and fine
and bathed in light.
There will be nowhere
to hide.

You will not be allowed control,
and you will not be afforded safety,
because you are not in control now,
and in your hiding place,
you are not safe.
Your cave will crumble,
your home will erode,
and you will be laid bare.

Stand in the light now.
Wade in this water.
Be a person
with the rest of us people,
for you are not to be Raptured,
and you are not bound for the Lake of Fire.
You are here until you are not,
and that is all you know.

So let the creature inside you roam.
Let it roar. Let it
look into the eye of the sky
and call to its creator
for purpose.
Nothing will be scarier.
Nothing else will destroy your fear.

Fight for your wild heart’s freedom.
For it is for freedom
you are free.

Get your work done; it is in the mine
you will find your mother lode.
It is at the forge
you will create your soul.
Work with wild, joyous abandon
and collapse into your bed every night
with a tired ache
at the center of your bones.

Take your love
wrap it around you.
Fill it with your deepest breaths,
your most bitter tears,
the rocky weights of shame
the hot, rancid breath of fear
every time you were told
you were not enough, and every
time they said you were too much.

Fill it up with your ticking life’s clock
and all your pains and aches
and set it free.

It will fill the sky.
Men and women will look upon it
and marvel—
look how it shines!

3 Responses to “The Wild Heart”

  1. Bravo, Nathan! Let it roar!

  2. Frank Adams says:

    Nathan, a great poem, strong and vulnerable at the same time. I can see it being read aloud and imagine how speaking the words aloud would move any who would listen. Great message. Well done.

  3. Hiram Larew says:

    A stunning, shining poem! You wowed us with this at Bridgewater and now, the e-waves are grinning for it. Thanks!

Latest Podcast Episode
vox poetica archives