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
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)
Eavan BolandA Lyric Voice at Bay
(PN Review 121)
Drew MilneTom Raworth’s Writing
‘present past improved’: Tom Raworth’s Writing

(PN Review 236)
Alejandro Fernandez-OsorioPomace (trans. James Womack)
(PN Review 236)
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 32, Volume 9 Number 6, July - August 1983.

Poems P.J. Kavanagh


When the Philistine host, besieging the muse-men, attacks,
It will find it had no need to bother:
Beleagured poets had long ago slaughtered each other:

Are dead for the good perhaps, because bored bullies surely
Will now conceive songs of self-praise and ennui
And some of the beefs, now muse-struck, become so refined
They in turn will turn and rend their kind.


Surprised at a dawning white-white with dews
On webs, in sheets on everything everywhere,
A work of darkness whiter than white air-
It comes again, the thought he cannot lose
(Though he'd like to) that the world is continuous speech,
Spoken once, always different, always out of reach.
Best, for sanity's sake, ignored: a noise

Searching, please wait... animated waiting image