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

(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 140, Volume 27 Number 6, July - August 2001.

In Praise of Shlomo Ibn Ghiyyat (translated by Gabriel Levin) Yehuda Halevi

Born in northern Spain some time before 1075, Yehuda Halevi is considered one of the great Hebrew poets of the golden age of Andalusian arts and letters. Following the Arabo-Andalusian literary tradition, he wrote courtly love poems, bridal songs, encomiums, wine poems, elegies, invectives, gnomic poetry, poems of friendship, and a large corpus of liturgical poems. Known among his Arab compatriots as Abul-l-Hassan Ibn Hallewi, Halevi wrote as well, in Judeo-Arabic, The Kuzari, a highly influential religious-philosophical treatise. In 1140, as tensions mounted between the Muslims in the south and the Christians in the north of Spain, the poet decided to leave his home in Cordoba and sail for the Holy Land. Halevi arrived in Alexandria to a hero's welcome in September 1140, and recorded the perilous sea voyage in a magnificent sequence of poems. The aging poet remained in Egypt for nine months before sailing for Acre on the northern coast of Palestine. In October and November (1141), in two separate letters written by friends of the poet's in Egypt, mention is made of his demise in July. Although it is reasonable to assume that he reached the shores of Palestine and perhaps even made a short pilgrimage to Jerusalem (under Christian rule since 1099) as he had so desired the exact location and the circumstances surrounding his death have remained open to conjecture.

A generous eye roams as a merchant,
taking sleeplessness and giving pearls and onyx -
crystal drops whose beads, if not for their scalding grief,
would string together like a necklace -
it wanders softly weeping over the ruins of the lover's dwelling
neither hearing nor speaking a word.
The hand of parting that scattered their encampment
now razes the walls of my heart.
How strange, as if I'd never set eyes on the place,
though heart intuits what my eyes estrange.
Before the Lord is the wanderer's path bearing sleep
of a bountiful eye that squanders its riches.
I might find comfort in the departure of troop upon troop -
if the constellations but sparked a reminder:
now the moon binds the queen, believing
it has shifted and sunk like lead into the western sea,

Searching, please wait... animated waiting image