Heart Poems for Children’s Heart Week – Day Three


Rebecca Goss writes: My daughter Ella was diagnosed with Severe Ebstein’s Anomaly 36 hours after birth. Until then, I thought my daughter was a healthy baby.  The shock of discovering she was ill, just  as I was about to take her home, added to the trauma of Ella’s first days and my early hours as a parent. A simple check could test every newborn for possible heart conditions. That is why I’m supporting the Pulse Oximetry Campaign: 

The Children’s Heart Federation (CHF) is campaigning for the introduction of Pulse Oximetry screening for all newborn babies in the UK. The test measures the oxygen levels in the blood and evidence shows it is an effective test in detecting three quarters of congenital heart conditions. The CHF is leading this campaign and pushing for its inclusion in the national screening programme of all newborns. To sign the Pulse OximetryPetition and/or write to your MP about screening, visit the CHF website here: http://www.chfed.org.uk/campaigns/chf-pulse-oximetry-campaign/

UPDATE! May 2014: The Children’s Heart Federation (CHF) welcomes the announcement from Public Health England to pilot Pulse Oximetry screening on newborns and hopes testing will be rolled out to all hospitals as soon as possible.This quick, painless and cheap test measures oxygen levels in blood and can detect over 90% of life threatening heart defects at birth.  

Read more about this wonderful news herehttp://www.chfed.org.uk/babies-are-set-to-receive-heart-test-to-save-lives/


By Eleanor Hooker

Let us imagine sleep suddenly like a child’s shadow leaping round the corner.
George Szirtes [Tweet, March 21 2014]

They are shown
back lit negatives.
Trembling there
a caged pump,
fugitive and rare. They’re told
to hope for winter.

Latin name,
chordae tendineae.
Heart strings torn
from their winch,
fastened to a fleet, dropped fall,
that cannot winter.

No keepsakes.
None. They’re wrought by the
but must cope –
he carves Yew, while she unlearns
their child’s winter cry.

Eleanor Hooker’s debut collection The Shadow Owner’s Companion (Dedalus Press) was shortlisted for the Strong/Shine award for best first collection for 2012. Eleanor is Programme Curator for the Dromineer Literary Festival. She is Helm & Press Officer for Lough Derg RNLI Lifeboat. Book: http://www.dedaluspress.com/p/q
Bio: http://www.dedaluspress.com/sp/directory/details/eleanor-hooker Twitter: @HookerEleanor

Prickly Pears
after Frida Kahlo

by Pascale Petit

With his soft painter’s hands
how quickly he peels me –

like a prickly pear,
removing my thorns.

In one flash
he becomes Diego the butcher

whose third eye can see
into the abattoir of my chest

where my heart hangs
from a meat-hook.

(First published in What the Water Gave Me: Poems after Frida Kahlo, Pascale Petit, Seren, 2010)

Pascale Petit’s fifth collection What the Water Gave Me: Poems after Frida Kahlo (Seren, 2010) was shortlisted for both the T.S. Eliot Prize and Wales Book of the Year, and was Book of the Year in The Observer. Poems from her sixth collection Fauverie (Seren, 2014) won the 2013 Manchester Poetry Prize. http://www.pascalepetit.co.uk
http://www.pascalepetit.blogspot.com Twitter: @pascalepoet


by Sarah Westcott

Write me a lambsong,
sing me a skin, yellow curls
coming through, curling to wool,
to warmth, long as a long tongue licking me –
filling my cells with milk.

We stole the lambskin –
I roll on its song,
we took its song, its young song,
unrolled the curves
laid them over our flat hills.

She places me at the core
where its heart grew –
I am naked in a pool of wool
floating my bones in chambers of air,
lamb wool singing me.

Outside the ewes are calling,
I am the cry and she comes.

(First published in The Poetry Review, Spring 2014 http://www.poetrysociety.org.uk/content/publications/review/current)

Sarah Westcott is a poet and journalist who lives near London with her family. Her debut pamphlet, Inklings,(Flipped Eye, 2013) was the Poetry Book Society Pamphlet Choice for Winter 2013 and she is working towards her first full collection. She blogs at  http://literary-loper.blogspot.co.uk/ Twitter: @sarahwestcott1


Heart Song For A Watch
by Rebecca Audra Smith

I wind you up, flick my nails against your face
to make you start, your battery heart complies.

You are the hourglass that shapes my sapling clock,
trickles away the grains of sand.

Look what a beach we’ve built, so many years,
so many seconds, you keep count while I sleep.

Steadfast partner in the night, my lapping heart,
your regular chant, my inward tock.

Bound as a puppy at the feet of the girl who spent
three hundred pounds on his beautiful pure breed eyes.

But you are just the one on a band strapped to my wrist
which I wear like a second skin, next to my pulse.

What do you get from me? I ask your pauses, at least
make time for a thought, a heartfelt word or two.

Press my lips to you and mouth
dear warmth on your stark world.

Rebecca Audra Smith is a post-MA poetry student, she is one half of Stirred Feminist Poetry Collective based in Manchester. She blogs at beccaaudra.wordpress.com, tweet her @BeccaAudra


( May Day) or how sunshine feels
for Claire and Keith

by Maureen Jivani

Like the brink
of sleep

or that almost dream
purpled with ghosts,

heavy like Queensland’s

their velvet scent
the heart

of avenues
where we greet

our children
as old as toddlers,

Disney on their lips
and blossoms in their hair.

Maureen Jivani’s poetry has been published in the UK, America, Australia, and New Zealand. She has a pamphlet, My Shinji Noon published in the Mulfran Miniatures Series. Her first full collection: Insensible Heart ( Mulfran Press 2009) was shortlisted for the London Fringe Festival Poetry Award 2010. She also writes flash fiction, and is currently working on her second collection of poems. http://www.mulfran.co.uk/MaureenJivani.html


(All poets have given permission for their poems to be included on this site)

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