The thorn of a passion

thorn of passion poem - machado poem
“En el corazón tenía la espina de una pasión; logré arrancármela un día; ya no siento el corazón.”


In my heart I used to have
the thorn of a passion;
one day I ripped it out;
I no longer feel my heart” *

In my hand the thorn
throbbed in time to a heartbeat
so slight yet robust enough
to slash raw flesh

In cool passiflora groves
the poet intones against silence
his heart torn by the shroud
she wore like a pure white cloak

In matters of a cheating heart
we should not lie together
guilt with its sadistic prickle
a burr under our broken unicorn

In a sacred grove his crown
bears fruit along the thorny tree
one day a sojourn for all souls
-for hearts will stop at nothing

In heartburn passion hides a pain
embellished by spittle hiss on fire
and there the cryptic sign of null
I can no longer feel the thorn

© Laura Granby 2016

*lines prompted by Antonio Machado’s On the banks of the Duero
and trying out some repetitive phrasing for this week’s ‘Poetry Pantry

32 thoughts on “The thorn of a passion

  1. Such rich and significant imagery – my mind flitted between biblical and for some reason also Scarecrow in the Wizard of Oz.. also how thorns can be the greatest pain or become so familiar they are part of us..almost unnoticed after a while..a complex and intelligent poem which i returned to more than once

  2. In heartburn passion hides a pain…. Indeed, I think many times our inner pains are expressed through symptoms. Heartburn is, perhaps, often heart burn….a hurting heart.

    1. glad you enjoyed it Sumana – it was fun doing the reinterpretations and yet somehow finding the thread – perhaps that is the spirituality beneath

  3. In a sacred grove his crown
    bears fruit along the thorny tree
    one day a sojourn for all souls
    -for hearts will stop at nothing

    Especially loved these lines.. the heart is ever so adamant that it definitely stops at nothing.
    Beautifully penned.

    Lots of love,

    1. ah but one day hearts do stop – but the soul they say goes on! thank you Sanaa for your kind words

  4. Oh Laura my first reaction was, ‘sigh’. There is always pain we must accept if we are to have passion for anything or anyone. I adored the culmination to this stunning poem…

    ‘In heartburn passion hides a pain
    embellished by spittle hiss on fire
    and there the cryptic sign of null
    I can no longer feel the thorn’


    1. thank you Donna for your encouraging words – they say a broken heart is a softened one ❤
      the last verse comes of doing cryptic crosswords which would read something like 'an elated state in pain from nothing but the sound of a snake" –

    1. thank you and welcome Yun Yi – your words make me realise how close we are to Valentine’s day and maybe that inspired me

  5. “No pain, no gain,” is too trite and simplistic, and lacks passion and purpose. Your prose brings meaning and empathy to the point of it all. Indeed, there is a payoff for realizing and following through on the passion, as painful as it may be. Excellent.

    1. ah Beth I remember it all like it was a hundred years ago – what a lovely comment – thank you

  6. Your word choices are stunning! Makes this feel like an epic poem. I also love the imagery, especially, “a burr under our broken unicorn.”

    1. thank you – I like the notion of the epic not least because at least it must mean that the poem is not as disjointed as I feared – and I wonder how it would translate into the Spanish!! the repetitions were inspired by the way Neruda does it in his ‘”Twenty Poems of Love” –

  7. This is fantastic. There are a number of stand-out lines and passages, but I think this is my favorite:

    “In cool passiflora groves
    the poet intones”

    Beautiful, intelligent work.

    1. it is most apt that you chose those lines – they refer to Machado’s young wife Leonor who died just 3 years after their marriage from TB

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