Heartbreak: Poems from Interweave’s April Writing Circle

April-writing-sliderDear Friends,

Our theme in April was Heartbreak.  The invitation: to explore its many facets, to appreciate its gifts and to reflect on our own learnings as we move through it. We each have our own way of bearing witness to heartbreak and how we allow it to change and transform us.

We begin with the words of St. Catherine of Siena, followed by our own reflections. While very different in and of themselves, the pieces have one thing in common: they point to more, to the next step, to the healing that follows our brokenness.

Thank you for joining us. We hope you’ll find something here that strikes a chord.





Live Without Thought of Dying

St. Catherine of Siena 

We work so hard to fly

and no matter what heights we reach

our wings get folded near a candle

at the end.


For nothing can enter God but Himself,

our souls are some glorious substance of the divine

that no sentry wants to stop.


Live without thought of dying,

for dying is not a truth. 


We have swayed on the sky's limb together,

many years there the same leaves grow.


But then they get that look in their eyes

and bid farewell to what they disdained or cherished.


This life He gave the shell, the daily struggles we know,

sit quiet for a minute, dear, feel the wind,

let Light touch you.


Live without thought of dying, 

for dying is not a truth.


(Translation by Daniel Ladinsky; Love Poems From God)




Nancy Burgas

We drive through the silent streets

of a tiny Texas town

dark somber clouds usher in

an early winter twilight


On my lap

I cradle the urn of ashes

of my stepson


We are numb with grief


A mile down the road

peering beneath the black ribbon

edging the western sky

a wondrous sunset

astounds us


Vivid orange, violent purple

burnished gold

a spectacular final salute

from the plains

to our dead boy.  



Heartbreak 1 – Intensive Care

Margaret A. Dukes

Heartbreak is your brother

after his final operation

where the doctor took

one look inside

stitched him back up

told the family

“There is nothing I can do.”

You wonder: Did this doctor

read the results of the previous


Wouldn’t he have known


that final cut?

20 years late, a palliative care doctor

says: “To the surgeon, it was

an act of love, 

to save a young person.”

Your brother didn’t

blame the doctor,

but you do.



Heartbreak 2 – Whimsical

Margaret A. Dukes

What does it mean?

Usually one thinks of

something broken

with a jagged edge.

But the heart – a muscle

can there really be 

a jagged edge

to this organ?

Or is it only a bad metaphor?

Like the one where the

old studies

say too much cholesterol is bad for the heart?

Now it’s no longer a scientific finding

that it’s cholesterol – rather

it’s plaque –

now you need to get a

calcium score?

What exactly is that?

Is it something like

when young lovers keep score

for who does more

for whom?

When you finally notice

your lover has a pretty low score

is it exactly then

that your heart breaks?



Heartbreak 3 – When Your Lover Leaves You

Margaret A. Dukes

Take the heartbreak

I had years ago

crying in the bathtub

trying to replace the washers.

I had to call my father to come

turn the wrench

his arm muscles stronger than mine.

My heart broken by the man

now gone from the court of my life

who first asked me out

to play tennis.

After my father fixed the leak

he took me to McDonalds

for a consolation hamburger.



Heartbreak 4 – Detritus

Margaret A. Dukes

Is there any hope

for heartbreak?

It’s sitting alone

in a movie theater

after the credits have flashed

ushers come in

to clean up

popcorn, sticky candy boxes

dropped on the floor

because everyone

feels free

to discard detritus

and cry

in the dark.



Heartbreak and Love

Sue Edmondson

My husband Bryan was told, “You must have a heart operation.” This was the year of 2007. “No,” said he. “As you know, Sue, you cannot be in the very cold weather up North. We must go to Florida.” I tried to convince him, but to no avail. He wanted to be in Florida for me and he said he also wanted to go to Key West. Off we go to Florida. My sister drove the two of us there. This was the beginning of the heartbreak for me. Often he was short of breath. He was always sleepy. Yet we did make it to Key West. One week later he was in a hospital in Del Ray Beach. They kept him there for three weeks (heartbreak 2). A week after he was hospitalized, Bryan was no longer able to walk. He was paralyzed from the hip down. Sent to a rehab. A month goes by and then we fly him home. My sister drives the car back all alone. Two weeks later Bryan is dead. That was the biggest heartbreak for me ever. Could he not have waited till after May 4th? The day he died was my brother’s birthday.  Oh what bittersweet memories are there for me in my heart.



The Labyrinth

Lorri Lizza

Most of the time when our circle meets

The morning sun shines white

We enthusiastically reflect on Heartfelt Themes

Blessed Intentions, Courage, Light


But today we’ve chosen Heartbreak

I see the storm clouds start to form

The churchyard Labyrinth slickens with rain

Drenched are the circled stones


My mind is blank about what to write –

What am I willing to reveal?

I keep staring at the Labyrinth and wonder

Did my heartbreaks ever heal?


Whether one walks the Labyrinth

In soaring joy or searing pain,

As Right-foot lifts then falls toward earth

Left-foot does the same


Partners in eternity

Pain and Joy . . . Joy and Pain

Each step a brief escape from gravity –

We Ascend and then we Return


The choice to keep on walking

Is all I can tell you about Heartbreak and Healing

Place one foot in front of the other

Try to bless the brokenness you’re feeling


The Labyrinth is intricately indiscriminate

An earthly form without beginning or end

But oh! How well it serves us

On our Journey with the Friend



Income Tax

Susan Abbott Maitner

Determinedly, resentfully

I drag myself to the kitchen table


Unlike the plaited market tunnels of Istanbul

There is no mystery here

No churning feast to enchant with rainbow textiles

And scents of spice and sweat


Today my heart craves revolution

The romance of riot and overthrow


Cast a curse on sums and statements

A pox on IRS warnings in fine print


Today I am a badger in a dark burrow

Determined and fuming


Petulant Poetry fighting her way

Toward Freedom


(Inspired by David Whyte’s “ISTANBUL” in CONSOLATIONS)



Comfort Food

Susan Abbott Maitner

A consolation hamburger is a lot better

Than being lectured

For not being logical

God bless you, Dad

You were a good man, and sweet


But being logical

Has nothing to do with the frenzy of a teenage girl

Who’s trying to solve one of Sr. James’ trigonometry problems


I was sixteen and needed a hug—

Not that bemused expression

And a summation of what I was lacking


Strange, my beloved Daddy

It was only after you died

And your mind abandoned all logic

That we began our conversations

Through the language

Of the heart