Poems for Children’s Heart Week – Day Six


The Children’s Heart Federation (CHF) is a registered charity. There are lots of ways you can help this charity raise important funds by organising your own event or taking part in some of the CHF events. There’s The Big Heart Bike Ride, The Dragon Boat Challenge or the slightly less strenuous Bring a Bear Day – to work or school.  There are fundraising opportunities for all ages, things that you can get involved in independently or as a group. Find out more about fundraising for the CHF here: http://www.chfed.org.uk/events-and-fundraising/

Oh England Heal My Hackneyed Heart
by Luke Wright

Oh England heal my hackneyed heart
it’s shot with guilt and all those nights
I’ve shared it far too often, England;
bled it almost dry for eager eyes;
traded it for other hearts
that turned to gristle in my grasp.
Nothing stirs this heart these days
the party tricks have left it sick.
Oh England heal my hackneyed heart.

Oh England heal my hackneyed heart
show me clumps of homes on hills
a couple holding hands in Hayle
or chalk stone words of love in Dorset fields.
Give me roads the motor clings to
herons over tidal mud
or skinny kids on wild swims
make me hike to The Hurlers on a whim.
Oh England heal my hackneyed heart.

Oh England heal my hackneyed heart
wash it in the North Sea foam
wrap it up in honey dawn
make poultices from May Day dusk
and chicken soup from sleepy days
until it leaps and bangs its cage
until it thumps me with its thud
and gives me all the grief it should
Oh England heal my hackneyed heart.

Luke Wright is the winner of Channel 4’s 4Talent Award for poetry. Since 2006 he has written and performed eight one man shows, garnering stacks of five star reviews and touring all over the world. His debut collection, Mondeo Man (Penned in the Margins), was described by The Huffington Post as “a riot of cheek, giggles, boobs, tears and Facebook.” He’s known to millions of Radio 4 listeners for his witty and empathetic contributions to Saturday Live. His verse documentary The Seven Ages of Love was nominated for a Gierson Award. He curates Latitude’s Poetry Arena and is editor at Nasty Little Press.  Website: http://www.lukewright.co.uk/ Twitter: @lukewrightpoet

Cyanotic Child
by Denise Bundred

Klee scatters hearts on paper, pink with wash.
Black lines walk a checkerboard across the page,
divide his hearts into rectangles and triangles.

            I can name each chamber by its shape,
            the position of valves, relationships
            to spine and sternum, the twist of arteries.

Klee’s crayon smudges cyanotic blue
on nursery pink, expels the oxygen,
drives to the pit of his creation.

            My hearts hold the beauty of muscle
            where systole follows diastole, as certain
            as the progress of a pencil.

Klee’s hearts remain fixed,
flat, functionless and flawed.
And he hangs them on a wall.

            If I could create a heart, I would sketch a scaffold
            of lines and intersections to separate the chambers
            sculpt muscle layer upon layer.

I have seen endocardium reflecting
theatre lights. I know what a heart can do,
            how many ways it can fail.

 (‘Cyanotic Child’ was commended in the 2014 Hippocrates Prize and first appeared in the 2014 Hippocrates Prize anthology, edited by Michael Hulse and Donald Singer.)

Denise Bundred trained as a paediatrician in Cape Town and as paediatric cardiologist in Liverpool. In 2011 she completed an MA in Writing. She has poems commended and published in The Hippocrates Prize Anthology in 2012, 2013 and 2014. In 2013 she read with Rebecca Goss at the Manchester Literature Festival as part of a ‘Poetry & Medicine’ event. A review of that reading can be read here.


The Glass Heart
by Anne Caldwell

I’m rather fragile, transparent,
full of possibilities. I’ve been threaded
with a ribbon, wrapped in tissue, stuffed
in the loft for ten months with fairy lights,
a paper angel, the artificial spruce.

Dust me down, darling,
warm me in the palm of your hand.
I’ll remember my genesis:
the glass blower, a St Helen’s furnace.
I’ll remember sand, soda ash,
limestone, my dark Obsidian roots.

Let me be the jar that holds
your morning marmalade,
the mirror in which you brush
your teeth or the window on a bus
where you rest your cheek
as you head North.

Anne Caldwell is a poet, lecturer and Programme Director for NAWE. She is based in West Yorkshire. Her latest collection is Talking with the Dead, Cinnamon Press, 2011.  Blog: http://annecaldwell.net  Twitter: @caldwell_anne


(for Lydia and Alex)

By Hannah Copley

Today, the congregation’s murmur
is a heartbeat, and reminds me

of sonar’s echoing ping,
of the metal detector’s steady beep

as it combs the beach for a coin or ring.
Today, each of us can be acoustic

and hold the power to map –
with our own echoes of love

the hidden parts of icebergs,
whale pods, birds in flight.

Because today, as I put my ear
to the cold stone floor of this church

I hear a heart beat in
the footsteps of a bride:

the quickening pulse
of love love, love love along the aisle:

a common enough miracle, but I swear
that even the stained glass shivers

with the force of it, and the bells rise
and peel themselves in their reply.

Hannah Copley, 26, works as an editorial assistant at Stand magazine, and is the current co-editor of Poetry & Audience. She is currently working towards her first collection of poems.  Blog: http://hannahcopley.wordpress.com  Twitter: @HCopley and @Poetry_Audience


by Rosalind Hudis

This is my daughter asleep in the morning,
one hand between the silvery poles
of her cot, that remind me of birch trees.

She’s going to theatre soon.
The surgeon will snap her ribs
to reach a heart which can’t wake

itself properly inside its blue forest.
She mustn’t eat, so when she stirs and calls
my arms down for the first feed, I turn

to the wall. She beats a fist,
the size of a large bee, into air.
Her feet swim faster as if racing

a blind snow flood
and I am the snow. Later
it’s I who can’t reach

my child so far under,
her face a locked, white egg
in the thicket of tubes.

(Forthcoming in Tilt, by Rosalind Hudis, Cinnamon Press, 2014)

Rosalind Hudis is a poet based near Tregaron in West Wales. In 2013 she received a New Writers Bursary from Literature Wales. Her début pamphlet, Terra Ignota, was published by Rack Press in January 2013 and a full collection, Tilt, will be published by Cinnamon Press in October 2014. She co-edits the online literary journal, The Lampeter Review, and has collaborated on joint poetry and visual art projects with the artist and ceramicist Ian Rylatt. Twitter: @roshudis

by Robert Harper

Brighten my days, my dark days in which the tower falls
broken, in static sacrifice to failure. What cost this debt?
Fatal, as sudden wrench-gripped heart, clenched
without release—a timed precision controlling final tick.

Broken by failures debt, this static sacrifice has cost
more than a winter’s frost, more than a crying baby
without release from precise control until the final tick,
before a mother’s sodden skin can wash its face.

More than a winter’s frost scars that crying baby
as it dips frail head into a close Sunday bath
before a mother’s sodden skin can wash its face
in calm caress, denying nothing of her heart.

As bathing sun dips, the frail tulip heads close, day
falls into a powdered hush that chokes away the warmth
in calm caress, denies nothing of her heart
after noon is left to puddle as the shadow

falls into a powdered hush. That choking warmth weighs
heavy on a broken heart, idle as a buried bone in the
afternoon, left to puddle in the shadow
of her former self. Gripped in final contraction,

a heavy broken heart idles. Bones are buried,
broken, in static sacrifice to failure. What debt costs this
of her former self, gripped in final contraction,
without release? A timed precision controls the final tick.

Robert Harper has performed at poetry nights and events across Wales and the West Midlands. He is founding editor of Bare Fiction Magazine, runs the Shrewsbury Poetry Stanza, and is currently collaborating with composer Zakiya Leeming on a new piece for four voices which is based on the poem ‘Hush’. Robert is studying part time for an MA in Creative Writing.



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


3 thoughts on “Poems for Children’s Heart Week – Day Six

  1. Pingback: Rebecca Goss - Blog for Children’s Heart Week | Anne Caldwell

  2. Pingback: Poetry blogs and blogs by poets, etc. | Josephine Corcoran

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