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Her Ticking Heart

A Poem by Hattie Rickwood

I once knew a girl who had a heart 

Like a ticking clock, counting down the 

Endless hours that fell between now 

And then, when she would take it out 

To check the time and I would watch its  

Pulmonary pulsating hands tick 

Round and round, the sound of blood clogged cogs 

Forever churning, forever whirring 

In my mind, waiting for time 

To wind them down. 


That girl now is gone, but her heart? 

Her heart ticks on.

Back to BoundBy: October'23 (Edition #5)

A Statement by Hattie Rickwood on her process

Sometimes as a writer I have an idea which cannot be neatly shaped into a plot or character and yet the idea demands to be written nonetheless. The imagery of a ticking heart with all its gruesome, gory cogs not as something romantic, but as something real and vivid was so strong that I could not let it fade away in my mind. This poem started as just that, a way to present an interesting concept, but looking back to the time I was writing I realise that it may be saying more than that.


I wrote this poem in mid-January, when tv adverts were already being dominated by Valentines gifts, romantic meals and discounts if only you had someone to share them with. It seemed as if the narrative of romantic love being the best there is was surrounding me on all sides, telling me that I had to find it soon and that if I didn’t then I was inevitably falling behind.  I had already been struggling to accept for so long that I could live without romantic love in my future, that there could be another way to live, and that I wasn’t doomed to be alone whilst all my friends drifted away to their partners. 

The idea of love as a countdown, as a mechanical series of events experienced by all is one that I have worked so hard to rid myself of in the months since writing this poem that I think I would barely recognise myself if I were to go back in time. But the words I wrote back then still resonate with me now, even though I have come a long way. Looking back to write this, I think I understand even better why it means as much to me as it does.



Back to BoundBy: October'23 (Edition #5) 

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