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
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... Vahni CapildeoOn Judging Prizes, & Reading More than Six Really Good Books
(PN Review 237)
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)
Eavan BolandA Lyric Voice at Bay
(PN Review 121)
Kate BinghamPuddle
(PN Review 236)
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 196, Volume 37 Number 2, November - December 2010.

Three Poems David C. Ward

Aces and Eights

Early mornings, two or three a.m., when my father couldn’t sleep
He’d make his way downstairs and brew a coffee, black and bitter
To sit at the kitchen table with a pack of Luckies and a deck of cards,
Dealing out dummy poker hands, playing them himself against himself.
Five or seven card stud were his games; never draw, a game for kids,
He’d say, not a real man’s game. Calculating odds and chances in his head,
He’d check and raise, hold and fold, spinning cards out in semicircular
Array to put them through their paces. Smoking all the while and sipping
From his cup, he’d impose his pattern on their random fall of meaning.
He’d learned to play, like most of the men of his generation, on football
Roadtrip bus rides and then continued in the War, breaking the monotony
Of hurry up and wait with an endless game of table stakes with cash
That it was bad luck to keep, a smaller gamble of one’s luck against
The biggest cashing out of all. Cutthroat camaraderie that men learn
To relish, the poker games didn’t long survive once middling age,
...


Searching, please wait... animated waiting image