OK Friends, hereʻs another poem — this one I chose because itʻs NOT luminous and holy and transcendent — itʻs funny and true and beautifully written in clear plain language, with perfect repetition of words and a momentum that opens the energy of the poem in, for me, a totally unexpected way! After our exercise with the prompt of the kitchen description this week, where we were so moved by the plain, daily truths of those places so important and practical, I thought it would be good to add this poem into the mix!
Bless Their Hearts by Richard Newman
At Steak ‘n Shake I learned that if you add
“Bless their hearts” after their names, you can say
whatever you want about them and it’s OK.
My son, bless his heart, is an idiot,
she said. He rents storage space for his kids’
toys–they’re only one and three years old!
I said, my father, bless his heart, has turned
into a sentimental old fool. He gets
weepy when he hears my daughter’s greeting
on our voice mail. Before our Steakburgers came
someone else blessed her office mate’s heart,
then, as an afterthought, the jealous hearts
of the entire anthropology department.
We bestowed blessings on many a heart
that day. I even blessed my ex-wife’s heart.
Our waiter, bless his heart, would not be getting
much tip, for which, no doubt, he’d bless our hearts.
In a week it would be Thanksgiving,
and we would each sit with our respective
families, counting our blessings and blessing
the hearts of family members as only family
does best. Oh, bless us all, yes, bless us, please
bless us and bless our crummy little hearts.
“Bless Their Hearts” by Richard Newman, from Domestic Fugues. (c) Steel Toe Books, 2009.
What do you think?