The Dead

by Kevin Hart

Ah now the dead are coming, clocks in hand,
They’re rootless from those parties at the park
All weeds and daisies now; they’re calling late,
Late August streaming down , they ride it hard,

All loose and ma1velous on gold long beams,
They’re rushing in the pleasure of fat peach,
And in the seams of clothes that sleep in lofts,
They’re sidling close at dusk in windows now

Because that’s all they have, except for us,
They’re filling in the gaps between thin words,
And in the words themselves when they go dark,
And in the dark itself when there’s no word:

It is the night that enters us, and not
The afternoon that whispers velvet days
And darkly simmers there with weeds and words,
Ah no, it is the night that knows the flesh ,

It is the dead that call and call too late,
And not the night with its dark words and lofts,
It is the dead that call, caress our flesh,
Clock on, cajole, command, and call again.

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.
—Brent Rowland