The south end of the UVA Lawn at night
Lifetime Learning

Heart to Heart

For Valentine’s Day, Lifetime Learning shares “Heart to Heart,” a poem by Rita Dove. Ms. Dove is the 1993-95 U.S. Poet Laureate, 2004-06 Virginia Poet Laureate, 1987 Pulitzer Prize winner, and University of Virginia Commonwealth Professor in the Creative Writing Program in the College and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.

Please share your reflections on Valentine’s Day below. We want to hear from you!



It’s neither red
nor sweet.
It doesn’t melt
or turn over,
break or harden,
so it can’t feel

It doesn’t have
a tip to spin on,
it isn’t even
shapely –
just a thick clutch
of muscle,
mute. Still,
I feel it inside
its cage sounding
a dull tattoo:
I want, I want –

but I can’t open it:
there’s no key.
I can’t wear it
on my sleeve,
or tell you from
the bottom of it
how I feel. Here,
it’s all yours, now–
but you’ll have
to take me,


(from Collected Poems 1974-2004, W. W. Norton & Co., Inc., New York ©2016 by Rita Dove. Reprinted by permission of the author.)

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