PN Review Print and Online Poetry Magazine
News and Notes
The PN Review Prize 2017 - Now Open!
ENGLISH PEN: time to join!
English PEN relies on the support of its members and subscribers. read more
Most Read... 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)
Drew MilneTom Raworth’s Writing
‘present past improved’: Tom Raworth’s Writing

(PN Review 236)
Daniel Kaneon Ted Berrigan
(PN Review 169)
David Herdin Conversation with John Ashbery
(PN Review 99)
Poems Articles Interviews Reports Reviews Contributors
Gratis Ad 1
Gratis Ad 2
Next Issue Meet Michael Edwards at the Brasserie Lipp David Herman reads Milosz's life Sumita Chakraborty's five poems Judith Wilson's encounter with Giovanni Pascoli Simon Armitage revives Branwell Bronte

This poem is taken from PN Review 130, Volume 26 Number 2, November - December 1999.

Seven Poems John Ashbery

What is Written

What is written on the paper
on the table by the bed? Is there something there
or was that from another last night?

Why is that bird ignoring us,
pausing in mid-flight, to take another direction?
Is it feelings of guilt about the spool
it dropped on the bank of a stream
into which it eventually rolled. Dark spool,
moving oceanward now - what other fate could have been yours?
You could have lived in a drawer
for many years, imprisoned, a ward of the state. Now you are free
to call the shots pretty much as they come.
Poor, bald thing.


Sacred and Profane Dances

If all you want is kittens,
...


Searching, please wait... animated waiting image