Five poems by Kevin Hart


Dreaming of an old friend
(after Tu Fu)

All day fat brooding clouds blow by
But you, old friend, don't come to town.
Instead, you're lit in dreams three nights
As though your spirit's running down.

When we must part you always sigh,

'Wife, kids ... it's hard to leave the fray,'
'Besides, the dough ... the fuckin' flights.'
Your smile says, 'Life's just gone astray.'

DC's new crop of boys gets high
While you, sad friend, stand still and wave.
And you, don't prate of 'Dream' and 'rights':
My friend can't dream inside the grave.

Late questions in winter
Are you the rain my Grandma knew so well?
You're cold enough and sharp enough, my friend.
Perhaps you're rushing from the same wet hell,
Perhaps you're lines some minor devil penned.

And you: are you the snow she hated so,
That danced around her head and bit her hands?
Sick slushy snow, thick coal dust snow, shit snow:
Well, maybe now she's gone she understands —

Or maybe that's just something for the birds.
And you, dark winds, are you the same young Teds?
And you, old stew, are you her final words?
'More rain out there than hairs on all our heads.'

'Two boys are hanging there,' my sister said,
Ind'Two dirty ones like you.'
'Our father strung 'em up last week,' she said,
Ind'By now they'll be quite blue.'

My parents' room had curtains always drawn
IndAnd shadows flush with ears,
The wardrobe lived inside that darker world
IndWith shouts and cries and tears.

That wardrobe creaked across my dreams all week
IndIt knew where bad boys are,
Its door would spring full open in my face
IndAnd fling a smell of tar.

And then one day, when everyone was out,
IndI — slowly — turned the lock:
I saw the dead boys in my winter coats
IndAnd ran right round the block.

If there was only a hunk of bread, days old,
If there was only a glass of something strong
(And candles feasting in the simple cold),
If there was only a woman, hands like song;

If there was only an evening playing blues
(And fireflies flickering along the road),
If there were only trees that froze in queues,
If there was only a heel of bread, days old ...

Morning knowledge
My gentle father died when day was young,
When there was very little left to take:
Gray face, a raft of bones, a bitter ache,
A word or two still living on my tongue.

There's bread that only dying men can eat,
Worn words that only weary men can say.
Sometimes those wispy words just slip away,
Sometimes that gritty bread falls on a sheet.

In those last days my dad ate nothing much;
His words were mostly gnawing at warm air.
Dark One, I'll be the one to smooth his hair.
You be the one who lets him know my touch.


Kevin HartKevin Hart's collections of poetry include Flame Tree: Selected Poems and, earlier this year, Young Rain. He is just completing a new collection entitled Morning Knowledge.

Topic tags: Kevin Hart, Dreaming of an old friend, Late questions in winter, Hangers, Bread, Morning knowledge



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Existing comments

That's was so good I wish there was more at least read one more but this so cool could be so more in poems please write about your life I would like to know so more this rhymes but I got no rhymes but I want u to know ur words expire me to be a poet just like u please send me some I would want to see more of your poetry's because there so delightful in my baby blue eyes.

Mallerie | 15 April 2015  

claps excellent ''true'' poetry with a deft human touch,,,

louis phillips | 18 June 2015  

Just discovered your poem Dark Bird, Kevin.Thanks. I found your images very powerful and they have a strong finish which took me to the present time of Covid 19. I found your poem in The Best Australian Poems 2009.I will be reading more of your work and finding out more about you. Best wishes.

Peter Collins | 04 June 2020  

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