'How to measure a heart' by David Moore is Write Out Loud's Poem of the Week

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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.




by David Moore


Heart 250-350 grams


Of fibrous tissue

and venous knot

organic mass,

that makes us what?


What we are?

I think not.

If we are not the same

though made the same,


Then what?


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”


No measure

for such matter,


matter in the measure


What’er we are 

is surely treasure.





◄ In the aftermath of the Calder valley floods, a new poetry press is born

Modern, classic hero: Linton Kwesi Johnson marches on to his own beat ►


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Wolfgar Miere

Sat 21st May 2016 07:49

Just wanted to say thank you for the opportunity to display this piece here. Very much appreciated.


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Phil Kay

Mon 16th May 2016 20:02

Wow David!!! Brilliant... I'm so pleased you have had recognition for this. Pome of the week!!!

What about that Lynn smarty pants H. Hahaa. She knew!!!

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Wolfgar Miere

Mon 16th May 2016 18:13


Its very true how we have come to romanticise the heart, when it really isn't the root of our better selves. I suspect it is because visually the heart is a far more attractive organ than the rather grey looking brain.

The poor old brain seems to get the blame for all the evil, and none of the love.


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Graham Sherwood

Mon 16th May 2016 10:24

This piece brings into focus how a small piece of muscle which is ostensibly a pump after all has had some much laid at its door, emotions, love, hatred etc, when all the time our brains, that do all the real work, have got of scot free!

I like the juxt in this piece. Well done David, and mores the point, as someone has recently posited, you do tender as well as you do harrowing, so more please!

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Wolfgar Miere

Sun 15th May 2016 19:16

Thanks very much for the comments and congrats, very much appreciated. I have been travelling today so have only just logged on.

I'm not taking the bait Rob, you know I'm a sentimentalist at heart.

All the best,


Lynn Hamilton

Sun 15th May 2016 18:48

So, I my prediction was correct!

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Robert Mann

Sun 15th May 2016 11:55

Wolfie - philosophical and bordering on romantic - oh how you've changed! From hard-nosed, harshly worded cynic to soppy sentimentalist. Where has this soft underbelly been hiding? (Have I wound you up yet?) Congrats matey - well deserved.

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Sun 15th May 2016 11:20

Music takes its cue from the beating heart David, and contains the elements that we may be searching for.
congratulations !

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Julian (Admin)

Sun 15th May 2016 09:49

A fascinating take on that slippery word 'heart'; and a no less fascinating take on David himself. I would love to hear more from you, as would many a poetry audience, please. Share it more widely. I would also be interested to learn more about those Afghan poets. An article perhaps?

I take it the picture isn't a selfie?

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