For the Birds, A Poem for Henk Hart

Hendrik Hart
December 14, 1935 – March 15, 2021

Henk Hart was the founding
Senior Member
of the Institute for
Christian Studies,
my teacher of philosophy,
my pastor, my colleague,
my friend, and
and the man from whom I caught
the love of bird watching.

In his memory, with deep gratitude,
and in overflowing love, I offer this poem.

For the Birds

It takes patience to enter into joy.
The longer you wait,
the more rooted you remain,
the intensity of your gaze,
only deepens the joy.

Green backed heron, Tiny Marsh.

It takes a trained eye to see the joy.
Catching the movement on the water,
noting the slight differences,
attending to the small indications,
rejoicing in what seemed so unremarkable.

Gadwall, Ashbridges Bay.

It takes groaning prayer to birth joy.
An honest longing and lament,
bearing witness to faithfulness,
against the evidence,
in the face of abandonment.

Sharp-shinned hawk, Hart’s Cottage.

It takes a life of joy to enter into joy.
And a life of sorrow.
And a life of broken hearts.
And a life of over-flowing generosity.
And a life with God.

Hendrik Hart, Toronto


Brian Walsh
Brian is an activist theologian, a retired CRC campus minister, the founder of the Wine Before Breakfast community, and farms with Sylvia Keesmaat at Russet House Farm.He engages issues of theology and culture, and has written a couple of books you might want to check out. His most recent offering is cowritten with Sylvia Keesmaat and entitled Romans Disarmed: Resisting Empire, Demanding Justice.

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