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 31, Volume 9 Number 5, May - June 1983.

The Dirge of the Wise Man of Paris (translated by C. Middleton) Jules Laforgue

To love-just these ephemeral skirts alone?
It'd be like saying 'Happy Centenary' to the sun.

But in their fugitive gardens you can taste, unique,
A concourse of the All at their dolls' picnic;

Taste, conducting rites that are reciprocal,
Unconscious stuff, boiled, in their eggshell.

Executor, perhaps, of the Law's writ and Estate,
With all your faith you will pontificate;

These anonymous solfeggios, perhaps, you'll vivisect
For the art of it, and never their ultimate do expect,

For don't think that the host where sleeps your heaven
Has in its flour an unimagined leaven.

Well, anyway, their eyes are all! And the table's laid,
On the juvenile Organ blind improvisations are played,

And-no wedding, honeymoon, or baggage at all,
No cancans, no shared bed stale as the air in a hospital-
...


Searching, please wait... animated waiting image