By DANIEL TOBIN
Translated loosely from a lost Akkadian tablet
discovered among the ruins of Kush.
God of the first waters, Ea, listen,
You who parsed chaos with a net from the day:
Unfasten your knots, let the swells replenish
From subtlest channels, from the seams of flesh.
The galaxies circuit in their bright delay.
The least wind tempts me with what might have been.
This petition you’ve given is nothing new
Since nothing is older than the wish to die.
The dew is famished for the sun’s caress
But disappearance does not bring release.
You long to slip the image from the eye
But the sky’s wide mesh will not acquit you.
Daniel Tobin is the author of seven books of poems, Where the World is Made, Double Life, The Narrows, Second Things, Belated Heavens (winner of the Massachusetts Book Award in Poetry, 2011), The Net (forthcoming, Four Way Books, 2014), and From Nothing (forthcoming, Four Way Books, 2016), along with the critical studies and Passage to the Center: Imagination and the Sacred in the Poetry of Seamus Heaney and Awake in America. He is the editor of The Book of Irish American Poetry from the Eighteenth Century to the Present, The Selected Poems and Lola Ridge, and Poet’s Work, Poet’s Play: Essays on the Practice and the Art. His awards include the “The Discovery/The Nation Award,” The Robert Penn Warren Award, the Robert Frost Fellowship, the Katherine Bakeless Nason Prize, and creative writing fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation.