Heart Thread / Robert Kelly

Heart Thread / Robert Kelly

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Through the tumult of our names, months, seasons, runs the line of the heart. The cordial, the central, the nerve that springs us into thinking, moving, speaking. Body, Speech, Mind—what else have we? The heart is the thread that links them together, the theme that runs through all the voices and variations of our fugue, our flight, our flight from Eden, from dependency, from servitude, towards freedom of mind and action. Towards being.

I learned the name of the poem slowly, after hearing at Bard a performance of Lou Harrison's choral setting of the heart sutra, the radical Buddhist text that speaks to the primacy of mind. It made me think of the way Buddhists point to the heart to mean the mind. Sutra means thread, and that was my instruction, suddenly focused as I listened one afternoon to George Quasha's Axial Music ensemble in Barrytown, and I knew the name of the thread that held me, that I held.

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