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His Heartbeat Makes Mine Stand Still

Think about the human heart, think about its rhythm it can be quite powerful because when you think about it’s the most important beat there is in the human body. Not only will the body not function without a heart many people also associate it with emotion, mainly love. When you stop to think about it you can almost hear it in your head giving it a powerful effect on emotion and I believe this is what Caroline Knox had intended with “His Heart”. She uses the repetition of the word heart, among other things, to grab the reader’s attention and have an emotional impact, and for some people this impact if far greater than others.
Personally this poem had the most effect on me out of all the ones we’ve read, because of how much I can relate to it. I can relate so much to it because my father has had heart issues in the past that gave us quite a scare. While he never had need of an artificial heart the issue he had was an irregular heartbeat which is still very serious and required restarting his heart. While he has been healthy for quite some time now reading this poem does make me think back to when he was still in the hospital. One time that especially comes to mind is last semester. What happened last semester was that he ended up going to the hospital for about 3-4 days. While it turned out to be not very serious it was definitely much different emotionally because I was on campus as opposed to at home.
In this way I can relate to what Caroline Knox writes because she is very unsure about what is going to happen to this man with the artificial heart. In the same way I was given very little information as to what was happening with my father and was left almost in the dark. In this sense I feel that she speaks very well to the emotion that we feel when we place the life of a loved one in the hands of a stranger, that dark uncertainty, hopping for the best and worrying about the worst. You can get lost in a sea of thought about what might happen, and what the future may hold.
Going back to the event that occurred last semester , I remember one night I was down in the rifle range practicing, like usual and doing decently well until I started to think about my father. At this point in time I knew little about why he was back in the hospital, but I did know that they wanted to keep him overnight and that usually doesn’t mean good news. I was alone on the line, so as time went on the dead quite in between my shots started to get to me. I can’t remember exactly what it was I was thinking about but I can remember feeling my heart beat, I can remember how every beat was like the beat of a drum loud and I could feel it throughout my body. With every beat of this tremendous drum the quite got quitter and the fact that I was alone grew even more apparent. I was losing the ability to focus through the scopes long enough to take a clean shot. I eventually just had to give up for the night because the practice had ceased to be practical, and I had other things to attend to.

As I think back to that nigh and reread Knox’s poem, I can’t help but relate to every line, and how she must have felt writing it. I read lines like “His heart keeps him awake while he's asleep.” And think about my father in the hospital listening to the machines as they display his irregular beat. Also ones like “It feels heavy to me--it makes a constant whir which keeps me awake when I'm trying to get to sleep.” Make me think of how the beat of my heart stopped me from concentrating, because of how his heart may not be beating the same. All of this throughout the poem has made it very strong impression about how powerful poems can be.
Now I can not read “His Heart” without thinking back to those days, the ones where his future was uncertain and all there was to do was sit and listen to the beat of the heart. I read this poem and I’m instantly struck by her repetition of the word heart. She uses this word nine times throughout the poem and the word heartbeat once. This is interesting because she talks so much about the sound of the heart keeping him awake but yet only refers to the beat if the hear in the last line, and even then only to state how it has no heartbeat. I do however find it interesting that she uses it three times in the first stanza twice in the second three times in the third and then the final stanza includes heart and heartbeat. It feels to me like the normal beat of a heart one heavy beat then a softer one then a heavy beat and a much softer one, almost to mimic how the artificial heart has no beat. The effect this has, on me at least, is very powerful because not only does the poem have a heartbeat but the heartbeat towards the end mimics that of the artificial heart that the man in the poem receives.
The last thing about this poem that really struck me was not really the poem itself but how Caroline Knox read it. While this poem is more somber then others she still read it as enthusiastically as she did the others and never really missed a beat. What I liked about this is it shows how much she not only loves writing poetry but also how much she loves sharing it with other people. I for one am glad she does because this poem alone has gave me a better understanding of poetry and the effect it can have on people.





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