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 248, Volume 45 Number 6, July - August 2019.

Jubilee Richard Hoffman
The musicians are coming.

A man has set out from Kabul, his grandfather’s oud concealed in goatskin, rolled in a prayer rug. He walks past hatred’s checkpoint, fingers on his beads, remaining calm.

A man walks south-south-west from Botswana, the mbira in both hands, with his wife beside him on the hosho, chanting their way to the coast while steenbok and topi, startled, lift their heads and bolt from such strangeness.

One guitar is all the man from New York brings with him. He thought to slip a blues harp (Hohner, key of C) in his jeans’ back pocket but he left it on the nightstand.

Hair bedecked with jewels, a woman has wrapped the sitar in her clothing to protect it for the journey. Though her playing is virtuosic, sometimes she needs assistance tuning it.

The ponytailed gray poet with his wooden flute is aboard a ship, and as he stands at the rail he wonders if he can make a song of his wish to have something to say.

She has bells all over her, the Turkish dancer – bells on her belt and bells on her wrists and ankles. You would think her movements make music, but it is music moving her.

All manner of horns will uncurl their brass volutions into long and soothing airs, their players’ embouchures creating kisses on the wind.

Searching, please wait... animated waiting image