The Heart’s Promises

Broken promises
unspoken but binding, loss
of Earth’s kindnesses

all rooted in gift.
Imagined trade offs: wetland
community for

one’s own waterview.
Our neighbor’s privacies: Bath-
sheba at her bath.

We pay for free will
and pay and pay. The gift of
freedom is not free.

Author: Tom D'Evelyn

Tom D'Evelyn is a private editor and writing tutor in Cranston RI and, thanks to the web, across the US and in the UK. He can be reached at D'Evelyn has a PhD in Comparative Literature from UC Berkeley. Before retiring he held positions at The Christian Science Monitor, Harvard University Press, Boston University and Brown University. He ran a literary agency for ten years, publishing books by Leonard Nathan and Arthur Quinn, among others. Before moving to Portland OR he was managing editor at Single Island Press, Portsmouth NH. He blogs at and other sites.

One thought on “The Heart’s Promises”

  1. This profound and insightful opened whole – interplay – of imagery repays rereading. To me the use of ‘free will’ is especially full of finesse as it glances asymptotically off of the dogmatic senses of the term to redouble its depth as it calls to mind other parts of the poem. In these days of unleashed white supremicist rage this poem seems especially poignant as it brings together imaginings of human, natural, and divine power.


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