Bob Hart, who reads on the New York circuit, has become increasingly
aware of the demands that poets performing or being displayed on the
net submit bios (short biographies). He finds this phenomenon mildly
interesting but mostly boring.
His new book, Acrobat, will be out soon, published by Words
& Pictures Press. The following excerpt is an introduction:
Bob Hart is a lean man. If he appeared suddenly, you would think he
was a shadow come to life. You could think he was a piece of driftwood
from an old time when forests were time-foragers that moved across
centuries as wisdom armies, as libraries waiting to be born. If you
look into his eyes you can see cathedrals being built. He listens
for footsteps on the Plic Plac Dance Floor and he writes them down.
As you drive for home you may see him above factory smoke stacks preparing
to swing on his trapeze, wearing candy striped clothes. A man like
this is not a man, but a live bit of history of creation moving under
time, under your awareness, like scent on a breeze. If you breathe
in you feel an intelligence, just as you can feel water sleeping,
black under city bridges. This intelligence, when we notice it, we
call culture. Farming. Farming a universe out of images and bright
time. When you enter this book, prepare to come out beautifully different.
But you may want to stay for a long while. Bob Hart's universe is
habitable and habit forming. He is truly an Acrobat, dancing in high
places in your brightest mind.
You know that place they call The Cloisters
One complex building made of parts of several places
With that middle age ornate simplicity:
pious statues, sunstained glass, household pottery, intently
colored paintings, little turning stairs, metal candlegrips
like giant jesters, tapestry run with hunters, beasts and grass and
fountained tiny-pillared gardens
indoors and outside both at once?
Walk in with me some years ago to that stone elfinry
where a certain lightness took my looking
making tender to the sight
the substance of the wall; making the high up windows
(where out-sun filtered in) closer to me in being
than normally they had been
or would often be.
The harsh and bearded traveller, Time,
wandering that day,
would have checked with new and saintly eyes
the wooden-ceilinged room with polished chandelier
I stood in;
he wold walk weaponless
subject to that day's graceful rule;
held awed by faultless cherries seen
outside a window's glass.
You say you have some private place, some special place,
castle and cloister of your own domain;
sacred, seldom seen, landscaped round about,
looking from where
you lightly view the Summers of this mundane world
blending these and yours at will?
(And if not, hello still.)
Create tree and field,
maintain each leaf (its bend and turn),
each part of grass (its own unkempt geometry),
the playful courtesy that keeps life.
Copyright © 1999. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Duplication of this
poetry and/or art without permission of the author/artist is forbidden
under copyright law. Please ask permission if you wish to use for
Tuesday, July 11, 2000