the jigsaw lineaments of klint and grike,
terraces worn clean by rain and gale—
this remnant shelf inched by slippages
from equatorial to northern ridges
before the elk arrived in slow hoards,
foragers, hunters, Neolithic herds—
the human increase of unhuman wind.
It rides there impossibly, like a mind
awake to air’s each shifting modicum,
wings spread out, a buoyant equilibrium—
not despite but through each thermal blow
buffeting headland and storm beach below,
while the raptor, tantalizingly still, looks
it appears, down on us, our bucklings
across stone—we who live otherwise
not indistinct, our consequence of days
quickening. Above: a moonscape slieve,
a fort’s scant ring of stones—and under: cave
on cave, a hidden system. This bird holds.
In the wind our windbreakers snap like ropes.
About the Author
Daniel Tobin is the author of eight books of poems, most recently From Nothing and the forthcoming Blood Labors, both from Four Way Books. He is also the author of the critical studies Awake in America, Passage to the Center, and the forthcoming On Serious Earth, as well as several edited volumes. His awards include the Discovery/The Nation Award, the Robert Penn Warren Award, the Robert Frost Fellowship, the Katherine Bakeless Nason Prize, the Massachusetts Book Award, creative writing fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, and the Julia Ward Howe Book Award for From Nothing.