PN Review Print and Online Poetry Magazine
News and Notes
Digital Access to PN Review
Access the latest issues, plus back issues of PN Review with Exact Editions For PN Review subscribers: to access the PN Review digital archive via the Exact Editions app Exactly or the Exact Editions website, you will first need to know your PN Review ID number. read more
PN Review Prize winners announced
Carcanet Press and PN Review are delighted to announce the winners of the first ever PN Review Prize. read more
Most Read... Rebecca WattsThe Cult of the Noble Amateur
(PN Review 239)
Vahni CapildeoOn Judging Prizes, & Reading More than Six Really Good Books
(PN Review 237)
Drew MilneTom Raworth’s Writing
‘present past improved’: Tom Raworth’s Writing

(PN Review 236)
Alejandro Fernandez-OsorioPomace (trans. James Womack)
(PN Review 236)
Eavan BolandA Lyric Voice at Bay
(PN Review 121)
Kei MillerIn the Shadow of Derek Walcott

(PN Review 235)
Poems Articles Interviews Reports Reviews Contributors
Gratis Ad 1
Gratis Ad 2
Next Issue Peter Scupham at 85: a celebration Contributions by Anne Stevenson, Robert Wells, Peter Davidson, Lawrence Sail

This poem is taken from PN Review 155, Volume 30 Number 3, January - February 2004.

Martha and Mary John Muckle

Whenever you meet two girls one of them will believe
and one will be sceptical; the name of the credulous girl
is always Mary; the sceptical one will be called Martha
running your barcodes over her reader with half an eye
on the queue, on some undecided loiterer at the back
who might, at last moment, opt for her dreamy-eyed sister.

Martha has a new haircut, a cap of darkness streaked
with purple highlights. Under it she has a face like heaven,
a black cup tipped to drink all the light in a supermarket
and reflect it, reflecting bad things back where they come
from an awkward customer who thinks of nothing; she
gets up, cools off, slams the empty baskets on a stack.

Mary is still washing the Lord's feet, raptly listening
to a new parable suggested to him by her act of devotion.
Martha thinks that a stone rolled over Lazarus's tomb
would be better left in place. He is dead, already rotting.

Searching, please wait... animated waiting image