The Good Penitent

By William Prendiville


The heart does not grow old.

In each generation it is born again,

striving for clamation, recognition

for what it has done and where it has been.


It gallops, from breast to breast,

heedless of thunder, its

plunder the joys and tears, and outrages

that seize it, occasionally, like a storm,

at a babe alone, a mother dead, a

war ‘gone wrong’, as many did,

and shall continue so.


Oh, the heart seethes, grows cold

as liver in an old chest propped above

a shaking stick, then, when’s done,

when Time has won, and a

single heart is, at best, a note

in Nothingness, another is born,

set for right or wrong, who knows,  or

a simple family to maintain,

and singly, and in groups, and altogether

set the day aflame.


And you, my love, I shall

remember, for you tempered

this one so,

like gold.


Born in Ireland and raised in Canada, William Prendiville is the author of Atlantic Winds and Love is Nothing but the Fruit of a Long Moment.

More from William Prendiville: 

Nietzsche’s Dream

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