poem index

sign up to receive a new poem-a-day in your inbox

poetic forms

About this poet

Jeff Hardin was born in Savannah, Tennessee. He received a BS from Austin Peay State University and an MFA from the University of Alabama.

He is the author of several poetry collections, including No Other Kind of World (Texas Review Press, 2017), which received the X. J. Kennedy Prize, and Fall Sanctuary (Story Line Press, 2004), which received the Nicholas Roerich Prize.

Of his work, Mark Jarman writes, “Hardin’s world is primarily the rural South, and his people primarily rural people with their deep and rooted knowledge.”

Hardin teaches English at Columbia State Community College and edits the online journal One. He lives in Columbia, Tennessee.


Selected Bibliography

No Other Kind of World (Texas Review Press, 2017)
Small Revolution (Alrich Press, 2016)
Notes for a Praise Book (Jacar Press, 2012)
Fall Sanctuary (Story Line Press, 2004)

One Moment Touching All the Others

If only each line of a poem could be its true beginning.
If only each moment could know every other moment
and we could hold them all at once the way we wish to,
the way we keep imagining we can. I don’t care
what anyone says about the impossibility, for I step
into the same moment again and again. I’ve lived
such a blessed life, a dying friend told me as I
leaned in close and caressed her face. I am writing
this line, this poem’s true beginning, six years later,
touching her radiant face again. Every moment is
the time I followed a yellow leaf downstream when I
was nine. To be, or not to be, Hamlet asked, and two
centuries later, Issa’s poems were born. And yet, and yet
the cancer still arrives to steal her breath, the same
breath blessing all her time. Just now a purple bird
flew up and startled me, and I said, Yes, yes, and raised
my hands. To live lightly in the body is to live deeply
in the spirit—I say her words out loud some days,
holding them all at once, and follow a yellow leaf
through overhanging limbs and enter my grandfather’s
quiet steps along a ridge a century ago when he was young.
He is being and not being, in and out of shadows,
arriving wherever the next step takes him, here and here.
When rain begins, he just keeps walking, drenched
and smiling, emerging decades later, holy. Sometimes
an echo hints from half a life ago. A driveway puddle
trembles at the foster home I lived in when I was three.
Good Lord, son, how did you know how to get here,
the father asked when I showed up, adult, from two
towns over. In the beginning was the Word, John wrote,
for each word starts anew, each word startling the sky,
the cells, the breath. Each word, each line, is an echo,
an arrival, a blessed breath, being and not being. I don’t
care about the impossibility of anything. The dawn keeps
breaking for which I am awake. The prologue is the epilogue,
the epilogue a leaf holding everything at once. I keep
arriving where I am, born and blessed again. I lean in
close to radiance: I’ve always known how to get here.

Copyright © 2017 Jeff Hardin. Used with permission of the author. This poem originally appeared in The Southern Review, Summer 2017.

Copyright © 2017 Jeff Hardin. Used with permission of the author. This poem originally appeared in The Southern Review, Summer 2017.

Jeff Hardin

Jeff Hardin is the author of several poetry collections, including No Other Kind of World (Texas Review Press, 2017). He lives in Columbia, Tennessee.

by this poet

poem

 to Tony Earley

Strange how I remember standing on a limb
that curved out over open space that fell
away down slopes I’d never climb back out of
had I fallen. And once, when I was six,
I almost left my mother’s car—outside a bar—
because I knew the nearby bottomlands

poem
I’m afraid I can’t go anywhere without stacks of books, boxes
in the trunk, a book bag over my shoulder—wherever I sit,
more within reach, just to sample a stanza, line, or word,
someone’s invocation to the color blue, another’s wandering
of fields and grief; and some have died I can’t bear losing;
in the