Reflections/poem biography for Transplanted

“From these ‘ghost’ chambers
hollowed into pig and rat hearts,”

‘Transplanted’ was inspired by a newspaper article about scientists researching how to grow human hearts from stem cells. Or, at least, I think that’s what they were doing. It was a few years ago and I can’t remember the precise article, or be sure that I ever fully understood the experiments, even in a simplified news story.

I am very much in awe of science’s miracles, for the most part without question. Like it or not, as a diabetic, I am only alive today because of past medical research and invention. But human history does seem to have a structure whereby solving a problem creates a different one to be faced later. Perhaps this is inevitable, and is fine as long as there is always another solution. I do believe it’s important though to think out what we’re doing as fully as we can before unleashing a new miracle that may potentially create a new problem. When I follow this kind of line of thought, I have a tendency to link back to faith/lack of faith and the idea of the tree of knowledge.

Like the animal hearts, this poem was very much hollowed out from its original drafts until it found this relatively spare, repetition-with-a-difference structure. I hope that the ‘cruelly’ of the final line will also put readers in mind of the opening line to T.S Eliot’s The Waste Land: “April is the cruellest month…”

Electric Questions - lit version smallerDiscussion Point

What do the italicised repetition with a difference lines bring to this poem?

Inspiration/Writing Prompt

Imagine you are a scientist growing something in a petri dish. What are you growing and why? How do you look after and protect it? What sacrifices might be needed to ensure its survival? What risks are involved for you? And for the wider world?

plentyfish cover (1)At poetry readings, I often enjoy hearing about the background to a particular poem. ‘Wednesday Reflections/Sometimes I smile’ is my attempt to share the inspiration, frustrations, pain, philosophies and thoughts that lie behind my poetry collection ‘plenty-fish’. Each Wednesday, this blog will contain one of these ‘poem biographies’, as well as points for potential reader discussion and also writers’ prompts. My collection ‘plenty-fish’ may be bought from Nine Arches Press, here, or my website, here. More Wednesday Reflections on other poems in the collection can also be found here.