Tuesday, 16 August 2011


“The heart is the only broken instrument that works.” - T.E. Kalem

The creative writing group hosted by Magpie Tales has set a challenge based on the image above, which is very home improvement-like today: Paint, brushes, rollers, paint trays… One can almost smell the distinctive odour of fresh paint and one can see the swatches of colour and the tentative areas of newly-applied patches of paint to see how it really looks in situ. It’s a great opportunity for renewal and re-invention and a new paint job will refresh walls, hide stubborn marks and dispose of cracks, holes and other defects. The new colour schemes will give us opportunity to start afresh and our environment will be revived – hopefully so will our disposition!

I am not a handyman (and I would rather apply paint to canvas than to walls), however, I have renovated and painted and renewed, and have done it often, both literally and figuratively, as the poem illustrates for the latter case…

Closed for Renovations

My heart is closed for renovations:
Your residence therein
Was somewhat indelicate,
And much needed be done
To make it habitable once again.

I’ve left my heart vacant, for now:
Following your eviction,
The cracks in its walls will be repaired,
Fresh coats of paint applied
And a new colour scheme chosen.

It is a barren place, my heart:
Since you left, you left it empty –
Save for your rubbish, cast-offs,
And your unwanted lumbering baggage
That none would want, not even me, now.

It’s worse for wear and tear, my heart:
But I’ll mend it and renew it,
Recondition and repair it.
And this time around, I’ll be more careful,
I won’t give it away for free…

My freshly painted, remodelled heart,
Is now for sale; not for rent, nor to be given away –
Sold, as paint jobs are expensive and renovations costly.
My heart is more precious now,
An old thing broken and repaired
Is more beautiful than a thing brand new.


  1. Greetings from Finland. This, through a blog is a great get to know other countries and their people, nature and culture. Come take a look Teuvo images and blog to tell all your friends that your country flag will stand up to my collection of flag higher. Sincerely, Teuvo Vehkalahti Finland.

  2. I love the images in this poem, Nicholas. It is interesting how you have interpreted the visual prompt into a love poem. All I could think of when I viewed the image was painting walls and nasty smells in the house!

  3. Color it you certainly DID ... quite well! Your poem is one of my favorites this week!!!

  4. Yes, we certainly did interpret this prompt similarly! I'm wondering what this says about us?!! I love your poem, especially the last two lines. It sums it all up quite well and is so beautiful a sentiment.

  5. Touching and poignant. Thank you.

  6. Good poem with vivid images.

  7. "And now, on this episode of 'This Old Heart'..."

    The last two lines really seal it. Good stuff.

  8. *sigh* such a heartfelt poem...
    A broken heart can work, but it's renovation is alomst impossible if not mended properly!

  9. Beautiful poem. Renovation is so much better than taking it off the market which has been my choice of late.

    Love the way you turned an everyday image into such a singular expression of heartbreak.

  10. I love it! There's life in the old paintbrushes yet.....*sigh*

  11. Love it. Love the imagery created by thoughtful words.

    Anna :o]

  12. Very creative take on the prompt; a renovared heart, don't we wish. I enjoyed it very much.

  13. Beautiful poem and a wonderful metaphor.

  14. Loved this idea and how well you expressed it. The old scarred heart must be nurtured and definitely never available for short term rent! it took me most of a lifetime to discover that, but as they say, better late than never... and we appreciate it more for previous heartbreaks! Lovely.

  15. A fresh take on rebirth, insight,
    and renovation. The poem sweeps
    you up, catapults you along, and
    is over too soon. Love the last line:
    /is more beautiful than a thing
    brand new/. This can be said for
    anything we renovate, from a
    1957 Chev to an oaken chair
    to a sad deck. Good job, sir.