Heart Transplant

Holub, Miroslav

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Annotated by:
Willms, Janice
  • Date of entry: Feb-06-1997


In typically terse poetic structure, utilizing fresh new images, Holub visualizes removal and replacement of a human heart during a transplant procedure. He describes the throb of the extracorporeal circulation mechanics as an "inaudible New World Symphony" as he elevates the imagery of the hole in the chest where once resided the "king of Blood" transiently into the cosmos. With the arrival of the "new heart," the imagery again becomes earth bound: the structure is sewn in place, the beats resume and the "curves jump like / synthetic sheep" as the EKG rhythm resumes.


In this poem, Holub stays much closer to a description of an actual event than he does in his more dramatically metaphorical pieces. The differences are twofold: the absolute technical wonderment of the achievement is so understated as to be most effective; and the images used, though refreshing, are crystal clear. For example, watch the QRS complex on an EKG screen and you will see sheep jumping in lines and in perfect rhythm--as an emblem of the victory of both "life and spirit."


Translated by David Young and Dana Habova.

Primary Source

The Vanishing Lung Syndrome


Oberlin College Press

Place Published

Oberlin, Ohio