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 218, Volume 40 Number 6, July - August 2014.

Ritual (for Brian Jones) Paul McLoughlin

   for Brian Jones (1938–2009)

1. L’église Saint-Ouen, Pont-Audemer

Killing time, I happen on the mass I knew
in Latin as an altar boy, loving its sound.
Here, in another foreign tongue, its cant
is lost again to choreography, the host held up
to murmur and let melt. Voices flattered
by a kind acoustic sing in unison. It is
beyond all thought. Your search for purpose
took you otherwhere. There is no God.

But there is history, this imposing mass,
its lantern tower, the bridge by Odomar
that gave the place its name, things to admire,
while communicants stand with their priest
in prayer. When you were a child and real,
you lay up on your tar roof itching for the world.

Searching, please wait... animated waiting image