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)
Jamie OsbornIn conversation with Sasha Dugdale
(PN Review 240)
Poems Articles Interviews Reports Reviews Contributors
PN Review Blog
Monthly Carcanet Books
Next Issue Vahni Capildeo The Boisterous Weeping of Margery Kempe Paul Muldoon The Fly Sinead Morrissey Put Off That Mask Jane Yeh Three Poems Sarah Rothenberg Poetry and Music: Exile and Return

This poem is taken from PN Review 243, Volume 45 Number 1, September - October 2018.

After Long Absence John Ash
After long absence I found myself back,
all unwillingly, in the country of my sickness
where a kind nurse told me that the blue band
fastened to my wrist indicated ‘cognitive impairment’,
and I think there may be something to it. Why –

only yesterday I forgot how to spell
that grave word catastrophe when this
is what had happened like an unforeseen eclipse,
or shadow of an obliterating wing. In the hospital
as I waited to leave (and waited and waited)

to divert myself I read for the second time
Dame Freya’s Lycian Shore and recalled
an ogival tomb standing in shallow water
amid tall reeds where a blue boat lay moored
beside the small forgotten town of Tristomon,

abandoned after plague. After infinite delays
...


Searching, please wait... animated waiting image