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Classic and Contemporary Poetry: Explained

WHITE HEART OF GOD, by             Poet Analysis     Poet's Biography

"White Heart of God" is a poem by Jack Gilbert, an American poet known for his works that explore themes of love, loss, and the human experience. The poem was first published in 1982 in Gilbert's collection of poems titled "Monolithos."


"White Heart of God" is a poem that explores the mystery and wonder of nature. The speaker of the poem describes a journey into the wilderness, where they encounter a sense of awe and reverence for the natural world. The poem suggests that there is a deep and profound beauty at the heart of nature that is both mysterious and transcendent.

Poetic Elements:

  • Form: Free verse with no consistent rhyme or meter
  • Imagery: Vivid descriptions of the natural world, including mountains, rivers, and forests
  • Tone: Awe-inspiring and reverent, with a sense of wonder and mystery
  • Symbolism: Use of nature as a symbol for the divine, as well as the image of the "white heart of God" as a symbol for the transcendent beauty and mystery of nature.


"White Heart of God" is a powerful and moving poem that celebrates the beauty and mystery of the natural world. Through its use of vivid imagery, tone, and symbolism, the poem invites us to experience a sense of awe and wonder for the world around us, and to recognize the profound beauty and mystery that lies at the heart of nature. Ultimately, the poem reminds us of the importance of reconnecting with the natural world, and of the potential for transcendence and spiritual growth that comes with such a connection.

Poem Snippet:


"The mountains are huge. But so what?

It is only the river that has carved

through four hundred miles of stone

to make this room for us

to listen to what it has to say

and to look at the white heart of God."


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