for Willis Barnstone
is the moment the gods should step out
from inside the lives of things, and here
inside my own house, tear down every wall.
A fresh page, like a flyleaf turning over
that could be a shovel-full of air, then a sod—
only the wind can accomplish it: a field
of breath. O gods, you gods, who sleep
within things, who so often used to visit;
who rise serenely, and whom we picture
at pool’s edge washing neck and face,
you weightlessly add your restfulness
to what already brims: our too-full lives.
Gods, let it be once again your morning.
We invoke you. You alone are wellspring.
The world wakes with you, first things shine,
though we failed you, in every fault and flaw.
Daniel Tobin is the author of nine books of poems, most recently From Nothing, winner of the Julia Ward Howe Award, The Stone in the Air, his suite of versions from the German of Paul Celan, and Blood Labors.He is author of the critical studies Awake in America, Passage to the Center: Imagination and the Sacred in the Poetry of Seamus Heaney, and On Serious Earth. Tobin is also editor of The Book of Irish American Poetry from the Eighteenth Century to the Present, Light in Hand: Selected Early Poems of Lola Ridge, Poet’s Work, Poet’s Play: Essays on the Practice and the Arts (with Pimone Triplett) and To the Many: Collected Early Poems of Lola Ridge. His poetry has won the "The Discovery/The Nation Award," The Robert Penn Warren Award, the Robert Frost Fellowship, the Katherine Bakeless Nason Prize, the Massachusetts Book Award in Poetry, and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, among other honors.
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