PN Review Print and Online Poetry Magazine
Most Read... Drew MilneTom Raworth’s Writing
‘present past improved’: Tom Raworth’s Writing

(PN Review 236)
Vahni CapildeoOn Judging Prizes, & Reading More than Six Really Good Books
(PN Review 237)
Alejandro Fernandez-OsorioPomace (trans. James Womack)
(PN Review 236)
Kei MillerIn the Shadow of Derek Walcott
1930–2017

(PN Review 235)
Kate BinghamPuddle
(PN Review 236)
Eavan BolandA Lyric Voice at Bay
(PN Review 121)
Poems Articles Interviews Reports Reviews Contributors
Gratis Ad 1
Gratis Ad 2
Next Issue Michelle Holmes on ‘Whitman, Alabama’ Les Murray Eight Poems Gabriel Josipovici Who Dares Wins: Reflections on Translation Maureen N. McLane Four Poems James Womack Europe (after the German of Marie Luise Kaschnitz)

This poem is taken from PN Review 237, Volume 44 Number 1, September - October 2017.

Three Poems Mary Jean Chang
Three Sonnets: Versions from the Twenty-Four Filial Exemplars

Èrshísì Xiào or the Twenty-Four Filial Exemplars is a classic text of Confucian filial piety written during the Yuan Dynasty (1260–1368), and has been used as an example of how Chinese children should honour their parents.


He Lay Down on Ice in Search of Carp

One of the strangest, this: how a boy mistreated
by his stepmother still tried to satisfy her cravings
for carp, sought out the frozen lake and thawed the ice with
naked flesh, brought home two pregnant ones
for a pot of soup. At eight, I learnt this fable from
my mother’s lips, offered immediately to out-do this filial son,
though there was no ice to be found all across the city –
our temperate winters incapable of frost.
Years later, I wonder why my mother did not mention
hypothermia or the possibility of drowning, did not
invite me to wonder at the boy’s lack
of self-respect, did not consider how his body
...


Searching, please wait... animated waiting image