The Mark Blog

Bookmark This: Your Heart is My Heart

Here is a tremendous short essay that did not make it on to BuzzFeed's "17 Personal Essays That Will Change Your Life." Brian Doyle examines the heart starting with one of the smallest—a hummingbird's. Doyle utilizes facts and turns these truths into an expansive narrative that surprises at the end. 

"Consider the hummingbird for a long moment. A hummingbird’s heart beats ten times a second. A hummingbird’s heart is the size of a pencil eraser. A hummingbird’s heart is a lot of the hummingbird. Joyas volardores, flying jewels, the first white explorers in the Americas called them, and the white men had never seen such creatures, for hummingbirds came into the world only in the Americas, nowhere else in the universe, more than three hundred species of them whirring and zooming and nectaring in hummer time zones nine times removed from ours, their hearts hammering faster than we could clearly hear if we pressed our elephantine ears to their infinitesimal chests."

Read the full essay here.

About Brian Doyle:
American essayist, editor, and fiction writer. Born in New York City, Doyle received his B.A. from the University of Notre Dame in 1978. After working on various magazines and newspapers in Chicago and Boston, since 1991 he has edited the University of Portland’s Portland Magazine. A prolific writer of essays, stories, and the prose poems he calls “proems,” Doyle has published ten books, including the essay collection Spirited Men (2004), about male musicians and writers; The Wet Engine (2005), about “hearts and how they work and do not work and get repaired and patched, for a while”; and The Grail (2006), about a year in an Oregon vineyard. His most recent book is what he calls a “sprawling epic elephantine serpentine” novel, Mink River (2010).