“What the heart is like” – a poem by Miroslav Holub

Today, my friend Khalid Mir told me rather casually that he had been reading poems by Miroslav Holub. I had heard his name; and when K sent me this poem, I could not resist posting it here. Have read it again and again. For sometimes, I tell myself similar lines – of course in a highly unpoetical fashion. Yesterday,  I tweeted this verse from Ghalib: “Meri kismat meiN gham gar itna tha. Dil bhee ya rab kai diye hote“. Indeed many different ways to understand the heart and the one below is unique for its gritty imagery as well as playfulness.

Officially the heart

is oblong, muscular,

and filled with longing.

 

But anyone who has painted the heart knows

that it is also

 

spiked like a star

and sometimes bedraggled

like a stray dog at night

and sometimes powerful

like an archangel’s drum.

 

And sometimes cube-shaped

like a draughtsman’s dream

and sometimes gaily round

like a ball in a net. […]