Bared feet standing on a cloth covered in a non-English script.
Sam Roxas-Chua 姚, Pilgrim, 27 x 51 in., sumi-e and squid ink.

Still of our world, dear father, in your grave
Or at my winter window, looking hard
Into a life you never knew in life:

This house of books, this fire that cracks a whip
At cats and shadows when they cross the room,
Vast silences that swallow days alive.

Dear father, know another life, your own,
Not of this world, seen faintly through past love
As though it were a frosted windowpane,

Know you can go there, to that other world,
By walking barefoot in the dark tonight,
As happened all the time at home in time

With just a fraying God to keep you warm
On winter nights, in Brisbane, in the nights
You couldn’t sleep for memories of war,

Know in that other world you are your life,
Complete, intact, and brimming high with love;
Know nothing comes undone there, not a thing.

Faint shadows gather in the afternoon
Around a house, around a fighting fire;
Look past them all, look through the icy rain,

A night not of this world yet drawing close,
Come from a time that’s hollowed of all time.
Don’t sleep tonight, dear father, darkness eats

Shadows and men alive, just walk barefoot
Into that other world: no darkness there,
All warm, in silences and words, all warm.


Australian poet Kevin Hart’s latest verse collection is Barefoot (2017). Other recent collections include Wild Track: New and Selected Poems (2015) and Morning Knowledge (2011). Recent scholarly books include Poetry and Revelation (2017) and Kingdoms of God (2014). He teaches at the University of Virginia.