Toby Martinez De Las Rivas

posted in: 2019, Participants | 0
Photo credit: Simona Noli

Toby Martinez de las Rivas was born in 1978. He has published two books with Faber & Faber; Terror (2014) and Black Sun (2018). A recipient of several awards, he has had work published across America, the UK and Europe, including in Poetry, The Paris Review, Poetry London, The Poetry Review and Rialto.




I turn into the second half of my life and there is

a hill, and at the foot of the hill

there is a garden, and in the garden there is a rock

with people sleeping in the torchlight

and shadows in their eyes.

I shall stretch forth my hands and another

shall gird me and carry me whither I would not. John 21: xviii

Among the hawthorns and the thickets;

where the sparrowhawk digs its beak in the crop

and the down blows West like snow. Tobe,

Sleep. Pull the dark ornaments over you and sleep;

face up, sightless, the black water lapping

at yr clavicle and the pit of yr throat.

Sleep like a polity, like a govt, like a dead city

with its lights still burning in the dark,

the streets empty of opposition,

and neither wind nor rain, nor thunder nor tears.

Sleep like Europe, a lifejacket

bobbing in the swell, a searchlight,

a siren, a trainer on the sand.

Sleep like the children in the lost estate of yr life;

like the West, like a swift on the wing;

the little birds that sing;

like the bodies of the lost in Hell

where the Lord sailed on the second day like a comet –

and it is written that they stirred for the first time

in a thousand years and looked up

at hím from their beds, their eyes like deserts

and like villages in the desert

where the hawk moves in silence and nothing

is unseen; neither husbands, nor money,

nor the children in the wedding party that dance

in monochrome between the verge

and the cemetery.

Let this be a requiem for the dead

in the Valley of the children of Hinnom

that wander in darkness with pillows of stone.