Of Saints – a poem by Kevin Hart

        Of Saints 

“There are three sorts of saint,” the angel said,
“The first don’t seem to do that much at all,
“Some simply walk barefoot on summer grass

“Yet people seeing them lament their lives.
“You’ll find them, once or twice, half in a smile,
“And then God leaps the void to hold them tight.

“The second sort of saint,” he seemed to say
(I felt his thought burn darkly in my mind),
“Feel God must tick each single thing they do,

“No deed goes by without Him seeing it,
“Each thought is wrung and rinsed for Him alone;
“Difficult men, and women too, they are,

“And yet without them stones would snap in half. 
 (That angel looked at me the way cliffs do.)
“The third,” he said (and paused), “will live as though

“The love of God must open all of time,
 “Not even twenty thousand lives would do
“To show the wonder of a drop of rain,

“Each word, each silence too, is sung, not said,
“And each deflects death’s No into a Yes.”
The angel looked out calmly from my fear,

A night was falling hard, like an eclipse,
A question bit its way into my heart:
“Which one are you? Not that you have a choice,

“But day must see you be the one you are.”
He gazed from deep within my darkest self
And disappeared into the grainy air.

Kevin Hart‘s most recent collections of poetry are Wild Track: New and Selected Poems (Notre Dame UP, 2015) and Barefoot (Notre Dame UP, 2018). His Gifford Lectures, Lands of Likeness: For a Poetics of Contemplation, will appear with Chicago UP in 2023. He is currently completing two new collections of poetry, Lone Pilgrim and So Dark Over the River. He lives in central Virginia. 

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