The Mortgaged Heart by Carson McCullers (A Poem for Thursday)

The dead demand a double vision. A furthered zone,
Ghostly decision of apportionment. For the dead can claim
The lover’s senses, the mortgaged heart.

Watch twice the orchard blossoms in grey rain
And to the cold rose skies bring twin surprise.
Endure each summons once, and once again;
Experience multiplied by two – the duty recognised.
Instruct the quivering spirit, instant nerve
To schizophrenic master serve,
Or like a homeless Doppelganger
Blind love might wander.

The mortgage of the dead is known.
Prepare the cherished wreath, the garland door.
But the secluded ash, the humble bone –
Do the dead know?

Published in Voices magazine, 1952.

The poem now appears in the collection of the same name, published by Penguin Modern Classics.

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(image: goodreads.com)
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3 thoughts on “The Mortgaged Heart by Carson McCullers (A Poem for Thursday)”

  1. “For the dead can claim
    The lover’s senses, the mortgaged heart.”

    I adore that line,’the mortgaged heard’ – such an insightful and interesting turn of phrase.

    Like

      1. It’s lovely isn’t it. The book pictured above is such a great collection as it contains such a variety of McCullers’ writing. Recommended!

        Like

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