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
1930–2017

(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 202, Volume 38 Number 2, November - December 2011.

Three Poems (translated by Marilyn Hacker) Jean-Paul de Dadelsen

The Great Ledger

They'll tell you that sunshine will follow the rain; they'll tell you
That a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.
   Don't believe it.
It is good that after the rain comes the deluge; it is excellent
That a bird in the hand brings two wolves out of the bushes; it is necessary
That for not having gone often enough to the well
   The pitcher be broken.


Erase and start again. They'll tell you that after two 9s there's often a
36 And that last summer at Evian zero came up three times in a row.
   It's true
A colonel who'd gone to the Ecole Polytechnique played the limit three times on zero;
Five hundred thousand francs; thank you from the employees, thank you sir from
The accountants of the great ledger where your military service record has always
   Been noted down.

Campaigns under Charles known as the Wise, under Pyrrhus, under Ramses II,
Under Hamurabi; nine wounds; two dead on the scaffold;
...


Searching, please wait... animated waiting image