Daniel Tobin

IX. Ophelia’s Garden | III. Tears
March 8, 2015 Tobin Daniel

IX. Ophelia’s Garden


After the turtle shook the world from its shell,
It homed through all the waters without bounds,
Through quale and quanta, ever ascending
Until it broke the surface on the single pool
Where the dead girl floated who dove in there
And swallowed her fill until she was the pool
She willed herself in her swelled grief to be,
And so began the change, her skin turning scales,
Her breasts lifting lilies, the fronds in surround
Inclining like mourners, while the turtle
Paddled, swimming to her palm, dandled, open,
Flowering there in the sky blue of Krishna.



III. Tears


Salt-heaves out of the inner ocean flow
From the threshold eye: self’s backwaters
Laboriously fermenting, while the legs
Of the ballerina twist around themselves
Like snakes around a tree. O snifter, flask,
My little drip-bag of tears, the extract,
The elixir, the equinoctial champagne
That keeps me primed and wired for the jump!
I balance on my head a punchbowl of heads—
My many faces, the brave losses bobbing,
And these bottomless flutes like waterspouts.
Lift a glass. Cin-cin. Watch the boats go sailing.

Daniel Tobin is the author of seven books of poems, most recently Belated Heavens (winner of the Massachusetts Book Award in Poetry), The Net, and From Nothing, as well as the critical studies Passage to the Center and Awake in America: On Irish-American Poetry.  He is the editor of The Book of Irish American Poetry from the Eighteenth Century to the Present, Light in Hand: Selected Early Poems of Lola RidgePoet’s Work, Poet’s Play and The Collected Early Poems of Lola Ridge (Spring 2017). His awards include fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation.