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: 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 1930–2017
(PN Review 235)
Poems Articles Interviews Reports Reviews Contributors
Oxford University Press
Gratis Ad 1
Next Issue Kei Miller on poetry and volume control Parwana Fayyaz's Afghan poems Gabriel Josipovici bids farewell to Aharon Appelfeld Craig Raine plants a flag A.R. Ammons from two angles

This poem is taken from PN Review 25, Volume 8 Number 5, May - June 1982.

Breaking Ground Alison Brackenbury


It is no use pretending

this place does not exist:

or saying

there is nothing noble here:
which is true: it is the bottom of the world
the grey sea-bed, where the quick fishes gleam
and turn away. And were there others, once?
we feel, there should be bones: but mud has eaten them.

This place remains too mean to love the dead
or any living thing
admits the day
as pressure of thick water on the forehead-
we do not think to breathe again. Despair
lies several fathoms up. By it, perhaps,
by evening you'll have risen to the dune,

Searching, please wait... animated waiting image