'How to measure a heart' by David Moore is Write Out Loud's Poem of the Week
David Moore’s poem ‘How to measure a heart’ is Write Out Loud’s new Poem of the Week. David, who goes by the name of Wolfgar to blog his poems, says on his profile page that he was born in Scotland "with English blood. I now work in Kabul, and occasionally live in the south-east of England when I am home. I enjoy reading, music and recounting great military failures of modern times." You can find out more about him from his answers to Write Out Loud’s questions:
How long has poetry been an important part of your life, and can you remember why it became so?
Well, I am 53 now. In my early teens I started writing the usual teenage angst type of stuff. My family were very mobile when I was growing up so I found writing compensated for close friendships in many ways. I used to keep a journal full of my scribbling, much of it documented my displeasure regarding other family members. One day I came home to find my father had read it all. It was at that point I began to realise the intimacy words could hold, and also the power they could convey.
What kind of poetry do you write? What motivates you?
I am not sure what you would call it. Varied I hope, though I am aware that much of my writing tends toward the darker side. I try to vary it but can get distracted and drawn away from the light. I do like writing about nature, and don’t do it enough. My inspirations are mostly gathered from the great deal of inequality and suffering I see around me. Other people’s courage inspires and humbles me - I think that is a great and worthy source of inspiration. I do like to insert some sinister comedic undertones on occasion.
If you could only have one poet’s work to read which one would you choose?
This is a difficult one as a few are important to me. Traditionally, I would say Betjeman and WB Yeats. However, I regard Bob Dylan to be a masterful poet, charged with great humanity and political cynicism which I hugely admire. A few days ago I was re-reading The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll and marvelling at how much there is in it about inequality and privilege, which remains as relevant now as it has at any time in the past. Oh, and Shakespeare. But as I can’t have it all. I’ll take Dylan.
Do you perform your work and if so, where are your favourite places to perform?
This I haven’t done too much of, I’m afraid. I trundled along to the 1000 Monkeys in Guildford one night with my good friend Ray Pool who reads brilliantly. I’m disappointed to say that I was ill- prepared and ultimately rather worse the wear by the time my slot came around. I would like to give it another go and apply a little more discipline next time. As I am so often outside of the UK it is not always so easy for me to get along to venues. Although I have met some interesting and very brave Afghan poets.
What was the inspiration for this poem’s title and content?
Elementary questions, I suppose. It may not always seem so but I really do love human beings, I am fascinated by us. We are amazing and beautiful when we are good and beyond words when we are bad. Of course there is no answer, but whatever we are it is something very special.
You're cast away on a desert island. What's your luxury?
Music, which I cannot be without, and the knowledge that for all my faults somebody somewhere still loves me. That’ll do me just fine.
HOW TO MEASURE A HEART
by David Moore
Heart 250-350 grams
Of fibrous tissue
and venous knot
that makes us what?
What we are?
I think not.
If we are not the same
though made the same,
Are we what we are not?
the stuff that can’t be seen
whatever that is,
we name it
“Such stuff as dreams are made on”
for such matter,
matter in the measure
What’er we are
is surely treasure.