Polished Wood – Brief Poems by Jack Hart

hart-bio1Jack Hart lives on a small farm in southern Ohio, and is a professor of English at the University of Rio Grande  in Ohio.  He is a playwright and poet, and the author of three books of poetry.  He helps to edit Ship of Fools magazine, a small poetry magazine with an irregular circulation that has a preference for poetry “that is terse, economical, and lyrical.”  He also helps to edit the Meadhall website, an exploration of the heroic view of the world, and of a heightened sense of reality. It is an elaborate and extensive site devoted to myth, fantasy, medieval romance and the ancient Norse religion of Asatru. It also promotes his collaborative novel, Mythosphere: A Novel, the culmination of an interest in science fiction fantasy that began  in his childhood with the discovery of a neighbor’s complete, hardbound collection of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ John Carter of Mars series.  He curates the site with his wife and co-author of Mythosphere: A Novel, Catherine Grosvenor.

Some poets are mysterious, more by default than by design. I first came across the poetry of Jack Hart when I Googled “brief poems and epigrams”. That led me to a page which contained the complete text of a poetry book called One Eye Upon the Queen. Jack Hart was modest about his book of over 100 brief poems: “though I still think well of most of them, a few seem immature, self-indulgent, or simply not very good.  It’s not that I was so young; I was simply a slow developer.” When I went on Amazon to find out more, I discovered that a Jack Hart was the author of gay sex manuals. This was obviously not the poet; although there is an amusing, almost-classical foot-fetish at work in some of in the poems.  There was, also, another Jack Hart who wrote writing guides. This seemed more promising; but he turned out to be a well-known journalist from Oregan. No books by a poet called Jack Hart  appeared on Amazon, so I returned to Google. Eventually I tracked down some biographical information on the Third Millennium Publishing site. I also found some more poems by him on the Odins Gift site, a portal for Norse mythology and Asatru poetry and music. I am afraid this work left me cold. And that was all I could discover. However, the early brief poems and epigrams (which include translations of Martial and Sappho) are worth more than a passing glance and I have selected more than a dozen that I enjoyed.  I hope you enjoy them as well.

polished wood

Brief Poems by Jack Hart

MAXINE AT A PARTY

You make a brightness where you walk
That lights a room and stills the talk.

***

OVERCAST DAY

It rains, the clouds are grey and low,
The pear tree’s petals fall like snow.

***

EMOTIONS

Unwanted puppies of the mind,
I’ll drown them all, unformed and blind.

***

AMONG BLACK HOLES

What nightmare hybrids walk behind
The zodiac of stars gone blind.

***

FLORIST’S SHOP

Why does this place so take my breath?–
Is it the smell of love and death?

***

A HEAVY WOMAN

The screen of flesh does not conceal
Her small, and finely scalloped heel.

***

MAXINE’S EYES

Her eyes are strange,
But strangely fine,
Green apple hard,
And serpentine.

***

LONG BROWN HAIR

Strange that such a liquid medium could
Possess the gloss and grain of polished wood.

***

WAITING AT THE WINDOW

The glass has clouded and grown clear
So many times, and you, not here.

***

ON A POEM

These lines have cost me seven hours,
Yet you’d rather I had sent you flowers.

***

IN CERTAIN SHADOWS

Choose carefully what you stand beside–
In certain shadows, shadows hide.

***

HUNTING FOR SHORT POEMS

No more big game–now fleet, elusive things
Draw me, small forms with feet as light as wings.

***

SEASON’S END

Cold weather comes, and geese are on the wing;
Their shadow passes like the hopes of spring.

***

EPITAPH

Here lies Jack Hart, and they’ll say what done
Him in was liquor and Harley-Davidson.

 

polished wood

LINKS

The short poems of Jack Hart.

The history of Ship of Fools poetry magazine.

The Meadhall site.

 

hart-bio1

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