Thief of Hearts

They stole his heart.
Authorities believe the thieves hid in the cathedral overnight and fled with the heart the next morning. On Saturday, March 3, 2012, Christ’s Church Cathedral in Dublin lost a precious relic—the preserved heart of St. Laurence O’Toole, patron saint of Dublin.
It was stored in a heart-shaped box made safe by an iron cage and displayed in a chapel dedicated to the saint’s memory. The heart has resided at St. Christ’s since the 13th century. The Most Rev. Dermot Dunne, the cathedral’s dean, made an impassioned plea for the heart’s return.
“I am devastated that one of the treasured artifacts of the cathedral is stolen,” he said. “It has no economic value but it is a priceless treasure that links our present foundation with its founding father.”
I saw the story on the back page of our daily newspaper and something in those spare lines about a boxed up heart kindled a small fire in mine. They say his last thoughts were for the people of Dublin—he gave his heart to them long before they turned it to stone.
veneration is
the stuff of a thousand
years—has made
its beat faint—a
tired reminder that
so i keep this heart
in a box—where no hand
can touch its pulse;
and through the ages
they come; gaze
upon its casings—
strapped by bars and
wood until it’s all just
a hollow place of dust
and memories.
oh, st. laurence, where
is your hair shirt?
oh, dublin, what will
become of you? not
a penny under the sun
to leave you but his
heart is yours.
but you, my beautiful
long since you have
pried back
my iron ribs, limned
these inward places
and coaxed this dull
thud into a wild rhythm?
let’s run away together.
with Diana for Saints and Scriptures:

Saints and Scripture Sunday


  1. says

    Love (almost said heart:) your open placement of “safe”. The story and your poem, especially with its concluding thought, are fascinating. And the photo could not be a better complement.

  2. says

    This man gave his heart and they stole it. Wow. What a story. May the heart of that good man change these evil men and that they will hear the Master through their bad ways.

  3. says

    Love that word “limned” and “percusses.” Gosh, I could just turn those over in my head all night.

    Do you know how much I love that you write poetry? 🙂

  4. says

    This story really touched me especially during this season of Lent. Imagine giving your heart, letting someone else take it. Hard for us to believe and yet God gave us his heart in the body of Jesus. Loved your poem — beautifully chosen words.

  5. says

    It is said that some will keep their heart “On their sleeve,” but to keep it in a box had at least value in the spirit. This is so sad that thieves would steal something that meant so much to the church and the people. Your poem is beautiful and sad too!

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