PN Review Print and Online Poetry Magazine
Most Read... Rebecca WattsThe Cult of the Noble Amateur
(PN Review 239)
Mark FordLetters And So It Goes
Letters from Young Mr Grace
(aka John Ashbery)

(PN Review 239)
Henry Kingon Toby Martinez de las Rivas
(PN Review 244)
Eavan BolandA Lyric Voice at Bay
(PN Review 121)
Vahni CapildeoOn Judging Prizes, & Reading More than Six Really Good Books
(PN Review 237)
Tim Parksin conversation with Natalia Ginzburg
(PN Review 49)
Next Issue Subha Mukherji Dying and Living with De la Mare Carl Phillips Fall Colors and other poems Alex Wylie The Bureaucratic Sublime: on the secret joys of contemporary poetry Marilyn Hacker Montpeyroux Sonnets David Herman Memories of Raymond Williams
Poems Articles Interviews Reports Reviews Contributors
PNR 250 Poetry Archive Banner
PN Review New Issue

This poem is taken from PN Review 239, Volume 44 Number 3, January - February 2018.

Poem & Translations Yvonne Reddick
That Most High Arctic of British Birds

‘[I]t is a Scottish belief that the frequently repeated cry of the Ptarmigan low down on the mountains during frost and snow indicates more snow and continued cold.’
– A Dictionary of English and Folk-Names of British Birds


Snow Chickens, White Partridge, Tarmagants,
their flintknap cries summon the cold –
even their eyelids are feathered.

In December, a scouring wind on the Devil’s Point
sent us scurrying to the Rock of Tailors
(named for the five caught out in a blizzard).

Beakless, unclawed, we needed picks and crampons,
softshells, base layers, and four pine-logs
hissing in the grate at Corrour.

New Year, and the burn is in spate.
Lady’s mantle unfurls, and gnats swither
from hollows between boulders.

But these Ice Age refugees require
...


Searching, please wait... animated waiting image