POEMS: Daniel Tobin

A Quiet Evening in Shock and Awe
A retrospect

Tonight, the local symphony
of sirens, gunshots, car alarms
dissipates in a swale of wind
beyond the blinds impending swarm

of talking heads that babble on
to hype the heave of history,
while bomb bursts blast the foreign town
to mangles of stone and steel and dust.

Meanwhile, the mission of the leaves
accomplishes in winter’s dearth
an inference, golden, that trumps the freeze
and makes a manifest of earth

that lifts above each sponsored lie
(our word is lesser than we guessed)
like wing beats in a prodigal’s sty—
the brute rejoicings of the blest.


His basement pump again
regurgitates the last
downpour’s surplus spewed
up upon the lawn

And down again along
the hobbled concrete walk,
where in the aftermath,
he tears at scads of weeds—

this pump they bought to save
their many years of wants
stacked high on skids below

with all their eidolons:
again, again such plosive sums.
He sinks his fingers into muck.

Daniel Tobin is the author of six books of poems, Where the World is Made, Double Life, The Narrows, Second Things, Belated Heavens (winner of the Massachusetts Book Award in Poetry), and The Net (2014). His seventh book of poems, From Nothing, is forthcoming in 2016. He is the author of the critical studies Passage to the Center: Imagination and the Sacred in the Poetry of Seamus Heaney and Awake in America, and the editor of The Book of Irish American Poetry from the Eighteenth Century to the Present, Light in Hand: The Selected Early 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 fellowships in poetry from the National Endowment for the Arts and the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation.

Photo by Denys Nevozhai (Unsplash).

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