A scar on the heart

Annie Christopher

Annie Christopher’s poem was inspired by a chance meeting when she was in her 20s. Annie has been a fundraiser for the BHF for many years, with many members of her family having suffered from heart disease, including her father.


There he sits in a dark corner of the bar

This shy man casting his eyes down

Huddled inside his wrong for summer jacket

Arms wrapped akimbo across his chest


My Nanny would call him “Shrinking Violet”

Not worth a look twice she would say

A man hiding closed up in the shadows

Afraid of whatever’s holding him back


“May I sit here” gently I ask him

Squeezing further away he murmurs “yes”

I tell him “My name is Anne”,

“I’m tired, thank you for letting me rest”


I smile warmly as he catches my eyes

His cloudy blue as a rainy day sky

His mouth corners twitching a smile

With some reluctance returning my gaze


As he shifts in his seat to accommodate,

His Jacket falls unwantedly apart

revealing flame red marks on his chest

Forming a straight line over his heart


Keeping shock from my voice I ask

“Are those recent from surgery or attack?”

“Heart op, I’m afraid to show them,

First trip out on my own - Sorry” he says


“Understood” over brightly I respond

“My word, I think you should be proud

“Scars fade in the sun if you let them”

Real surprise flickers across his face


His body relaxes as he warms to me

“I’m lucky to be here” he admits

“My that must surely be some story

“I have time to listen, please tell”


For an hour we talk sat in the gloom

I learn of a child’s damaged heart grown man

Not sure how people will take him

Of the surgeon’s knife that saved him, he’s glad


Having operation scars of my own now sun tan faded,

Showing them honours the surgeon who made them

Time swiftly passed whilst we chatted

Although short, we had become friends


The poems published in this section are creative writing by Heart Matters readers. They should not be taken as medical advice.

It isn’t always easy to express your emotions, but writing poetry can be a way of putting your feelings down on paper which many people find helpful. If you’d like your poem about any aspect of heart disease or caring for someone to appear in this section, email it to hmeditor@bhf.org.uk

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