Thetis’s Heel


by Hester Knibbe. Translated by Jacquelyn Pope.

Even gods, though they were born
in our own heads, died out to myth.

Just as no one can point to the source
of the spring or later at sea can say: this

is the water from deep in the earth, that
flowed from the mountaintops, so

is the stream of mortals and gods.

About my origins I know
nothing. I married the earth, a child

grew in me, fell
out of me at last, and I

babbled: little mutt of mine, I’ll
name you, dunk you in invulnerability.

He smiled at me, held me tightly
by the heel and said mama.

About the Authors:

Hester Knibbe is one of the leading Dutch poets writing today. She has published fifteen collections of poems, including Archaïsch de dieren (2014), which was awarded the VSB Poetry Prize. “Thetis’s Heel” appears in this translation in Hungerpots, just out from Eyewear Publications.

American poet Jacquelyn Pope is a widely published poet and translator and author of Watermark from Marsh Hawk Press (2005). Her translation of Hester Knibbe’s poetry has been supported by the National Endowment for the Arts, a PEN/Heim Translation Grant, the Academy of American Poets, and the Massachusetts Cultural Council.