In Every Heart-Break: a Poem Revisited

Dante and Beatrice in the Heaven of Saturn – Botticelli

A while back I wrote a little sequence of poems called ‘Seven Heavens, Seven Hells’, which took the mediaeval vision of the seven spheres of  the heavens, the spheres that Dante travels through and about which Lewis writes in The Discarded Image, and used them as a pattern for some contemporary reflections. Saturn, the furthest of the spheres was associated in the mediaeval mind with disaster and melancholia – but also with wisdom. And re-reading my little poem on Saturnian wisdom I thought it might have something to say to us in this moment. There is so much heart-break everywhere, so many endings, and in the end only God himself can wipe away our tears, for in Christ he knows what it is to shed them, but I hope these lines may speak into some hearts for good.

The poem was published last year in my book After Prayer. You can hear me read it by clicking on the title or the ‘play’ button



In every heart-break wisdom can be found,

The end of things may be the place to start,

The hard frost helps to break the stony ground

In every heart.


Nothing remains the same, things fall apart.

We listen for the music; not a sound.

But we discover, silent and apart,


The meditative minutes circle round,

There is a deeper dance, an inner art,

There is a hidden treasure to be found

In every heart.

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Filed under christianity, Poems

16 responses to “In Every Heart-Break: a Poem Revisited

  1. Right now, the music is that of the wind, sighing, pleading, groaning, haunting. Hard to sing along when my spirit is still wrapped in Resurrection.
    It haunts like Good Friday…
    ~ Linda

  2. Barbara Armstrong

    Thanks, Malcolm. Stan and I (who live in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada) have been enjoying and appreciating your poetry ever since we attended the C.S. Lewis anniversary event in London – the only time we’ve traveled abroad, and a great experience. I hope you are staying well!


    Malcolm, I have very much enjoyed reading and listening this past week to your searching out God’s riddles via poetic form. They marvel, coax and pull you inside these holy mysteries in a gentle, inviting way. Thank-you!

  4. Wonderful poem–and yes, it does speak beautifully to our present day. Thanks.

  5. Glenda

    Malcolm, this poem appears to have been written for this season of distance, heartbreak and “falling apart”. In this time of quietness and unexpected sabbath, may my heart truly be drawn into that deeper dance! Thank you for putting into words what my heart so often feels

  6. Kathryn Penner

    I just wanted to write a thank you for all you’ve done over the internet through Lent and this Easter season. I cannot express how your poems and the bits of notes with them have nurtured me – soul deep. Poetry is not my native language and I am excited to begin to discover this rich and enriching tongue. In your poems I have found deep wells of meaning and sympathy and connection to our God that is invaluable. Thank you seems inadequate.


  7. Roslyn Ashby

    Thank you, so beautiful
    Melbourne ,Australia

  8. Ruth

    As my mother nears the end of her journey in this life and I cannot be with her, this is poignant and reminds me of the hope that sustains me and her. Thank you.

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