Jeff Hardin: “A Word That Means Standing Between Each Moment”

 

 

A WORD THAT MEANS STANDING BETWEEN EACH MOMENT

I dreamed I was speaking every language,
no one a stranger, and then I woke to find
the same few words I assemble my life around.

Overnight a dusting of snow has settled into leaves,
into crooks of oaks in the side yard. It takes years 
sometimes to know what sifts down into my thoughts.

Having lived this long has granted me few answers.
I’ve been given only new questions and less
confidence in anything but my own inadequacy.

If only it were possible to pause between each
moment and weigh the implications of what 
came before against what is now coming to be.

I laugh to think of how I once labored to memorize
a poem, to embody its words and carry them forth
into the world. Now I remember only one word: float.

 

About the Author: Jeff Hardin is the author of six collections of poetry: Fall Sanctuary (Nicholas Roerich Prize); Notes for a Praise Book (Jacar Press Book Award); Restoring the Narrative (Donald Justice Prize); Small RevolutionNo Other Kind of World (X. J. Kennedy Prize), and A Clearing Space in the Middle of BeingThe New Republic, The Hudson Review, The Southern Review, Southwest Review, North American Review, The Gettysburg Review, Poetry Northwest, Hotel Amerika, and Southern Poetry Review have published his poems. He teaches at Columbia State Community College in Columbia, TN.

 

More By Jeff Hardin:

A Namelessness of Starlings

 

Image Credit: Unknown Maker “Niagara” 1860s – 1880s Digital image courtesy of the Getty’s Open Content Program.

Jeff Hardin: “A Namelessness of Starlings”

 

 

A NAMELESSNESS OF STARLINGS

Down hollows I go walking, nine years old,
as nameless as starlings on far-away fence posts.
To what larger world do I feel myself drawn?

I thirst after ripples dying out on an inland pond.
I dream a circumference of wandering along
until an answer blooms forth from the call of an owl.

Maybe already I have disappeared, a creek stone
no morning light falls upon. Sycamore leaves
drift and touch down and slide the sky along.

Syllables, too, can lengthen how we listen 
to an afternoon of wind through sage grass
leaning toward so many moments still unknown.

A sapling rises through the dawn come down
to find another fallen cedar, its privacy just one 
more face I’m happy to have mistaken for my own.

 

About the Author: Jeff Hardin is the author of six collections of poetry: Fall Sanctuary (Nicholas Roerich Prize); Notes for a Praise Book (Jacar Press Book Award); Restoring the Narrative (Donald Justice Prize); Small RevolutionNo Other Kind of World (X. J. Kennedy Prize), and A Clearing Space in the Middle of BeingThe New Republic, The Hudson Review, The Southern Review, Southwest Review, North American Review, The Gettysburg Review, Poetry Northwest, Hotel Amerika, and Southern Poetry Review have published his poems. He teaches at Columbia State Community College in Columbia, TN.

 

Image Credit: James W. Rosenthal “Close up view across stream to fallen tree – Middle Bridge American Sycamore, Near former site of the historic middle bridge, U.S. Route 34, Sharpsburg, Washington County, MD” (2006) The Library of Congress