The Heart Wants What the Heart Wants

The Heart wants what it wants—or else it does not care—

~ Emily Dickinson (1830 – 1886)
American poet

from a letter to Mrs. Samuel Bowles (1862)

Musings and Impressions

Over an ice-cold ginger ale by the poolside of Sheraton Towers yesterday, the wicked heat of October so unnatural for this time of year sizzled away in conversation time—too quick, too cruel, especially when you are in fine and dear company. 

Always, with L., who visits only twice, three times at most, each year from Vancouver—trips that feel more like pit-stops—the catch-up and the storytelling feel more breathless, and never enough.

Our stories took us to Emily Dickinson yesterday, which was such a treat. Sometimes, we forget the poets we love; sometimes, we forget the friends who recede into some dusty corner in the folds of our mind and the muck of our busy lives. 

L. sent me this heart quote via iMessage as we were speaking—a hilarious take on the heart by some psychologist. I, on the other hand, was curious which poem it came from. As I had discovered this morning: no, it didn’t come from a poem, but a letter. The Queen of Dashes, I learned with great amusement, uses dashes too in prose. How fine, how lovely!

Now, if we all cleaved to her cryptic language, we would all be living life cool as a breeze, going “I don’t care,” or we would all be madly chasing and grasping at what our heart wants, refusing to devolve into “I don’t care” mode.

L. didn’t have an answer to the Dickinson quandary (to want or not to want?), neither do I, but I know who does. The Universe, Eternal Time, and the happy Frogs in her letter!


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