Does Anyone Beat Your Heart for You
by Melissa S. Green | crossposted at Bent Alaska
does anyone beat your heart for you —
oh yes I know there are some who
will quicken it
or slow it at their leaving —
but when you are alone at night
and sleeping, dreamless . . .
it is there . . . beating —
it will be there . . . beating —
till you die
does anyone beat your heart for you
does anyone live your life for you
do you cast a vote — plea for
do you hasten your death by forgetting
do you close your eyes and believe
what others say you see
[January 9, 1982]
About this poem
I spoke this poem today at the Community Building for Alaska workshop sponsored by the Alaska Community Foundation & Alaska Pacific University, after a morning’s discussion. It’s not possible to walk together in community as anyone other than who we are, carrying our own minds, hearts, souls.
I wrote this poem many many years ago, mostly in my head, one day walking across my home town of Columbia Falls, Montana, & thinking about people who seem to need to have other people tell them what to think, what to believe — or even to know who they are. But how can you know who you are, unless you discover it for yourself? How can others know you unless you are yourself? How can any other person have the arrogance or violence of spirit to claim better knowledge of you than you have of yourself? To do so is a violation of your very integrity.
This is the second time I’ve posted this poem on my blog. The first time was in the summer of 2009, during the height of the public hearings on the Anchorage equal rights ordinance AO-64. You can read here about the occasion of my posting it then.