by Kevin Hart
August: fat summer lounges eve1ywhere,
Enjoying all the grasses’ loopy green
And that young sky whose blue has grown so rich.
The birds drink deep before they take the air.
I walk around, and reach inside the flesh
Of white oaks, yellow warblers, squirrels, pine,
And feel their puzzled gazes settle down
And start to feel at home inside a world
I barely know because I’m new to life,
Though life is old. Bruised light before a storm;
And if it came, the rapture would be clean,
In Indiana it would sweep each soul
Up in its tide of self and victory.
O lay me down, Dark One, lay me down
Until you bend to me; be like the moon
That bathes my row of bent tomato plants,
O lay me down, until I can be sweet,
Until the deer will kiss my eyes, and let
Me learn from them, until the summer nibs
Her sweaty flesh against me one last time.
Kevin Hart is the Edwin B. Kyle Professor of Christian Studies at the University of Virginia. He’s a respected literary critic, philosopher, and theologian who originally hails from Australia , where he grew up. Most importantly, for our purpose in the corning pages, Hart is known far and wide as a major poet. He’s been called original, indispensable, visionary, and one of the finest poets writing in English today. BYU was happy to host him on September 8, 2009 as part of the English Reading Series, and I was fortunate to enjoy a few minutes of his time discussing literature, novel jokes, the ineffable, print culture, and the best way to lull a baby back to sleep in the bleary AM (with poetry, of course). It turns out Hart is not only a great poet but a really decent, personable guy—energetic and extremely easy to talk to. When he offered to send Inscape some original poems, I jumped at the chance. You’ll find these poems—The Dead, Tomorrow, My First Tie, Summer—and our full interview in the following pages. We hope you enjoy. As far as I can tell, Kevin Hart is the first Australian poet to be featured in Inscape. We’re grateful for the opportunity and the support.