PN Review Print and Online Poetry Magazine
News and Notes
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... 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 CELEBRATING JOHN ASHBERY Contributors include Mark Ford, Marina Warner, Jeremy Over, Theophilus Kwek, Sam Riviere, Luke Kennard, Philip Terry,Agnes Lehoczky, Emily Critchley, Oli Hazard and others Miles Champion The Gold Standard Rebecca Watts The Cult of the Noble Amateur Marina Tsvetaeva ‘My desire has the features of a woman’: Two Letters translated by Christopher Whyte Iain Bamforth Black and White

This poem is taken from PN Review 44, Volume 11 Number 6, July - August 1985.

Impotence Michael Hofmann

The dry electric heat of Cornwall turned us yellow
in a week . . . All that time, we didn't sweat
and I never touched you. Debility, cursed idleness,
I read slowly through my book of African stories.
The honeysuckle in the lanes came from some tropics,
and the strange, acidulous, blue-paper hydrangeas.
Farmers strung up crows as an example to others.
One afternoon, we lay down and slept in a warm mist.
That was our fourth holiday. Afterwards, I squatted
in your parents' house as your 'live-in lover' - a licit,
troublesome, almost unbearable state - while waiting
for our own place, the double or quits of living together.
I think those were your terms, the clannishness, amiability
and compromise of one roof . . . I hung around alone
while you went off to family weddings, and returned
in a gaggle of tradition and collective enchantment.
...


Searching, please wait... animated waiting image