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)
Kei Millerthe Fat Black Woman
In Praise of the Fat Black Woman & Volume

(PN Review 241)
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)
Next Issue Iain Bamforth On the Surface of Events Phoebe Power Once More the Sea Aram Saroyan About Lew Welch Walter Bruno Once more, on Value and English Lit Jenny King Moving Day and other poems
Poems Articles Interviews Reports Reviews Contributors
PNR 250 Poetry Archive Banner
Monthly Carcanet Books
PN Review Blog

This article is taken from PN Review 252, Volume 46 Number 4, March - April 2020.

Interactions
3. ‘Ode to the Water Molecule’
Gregory O'Brien
Gregory O’Brien, Ode to the Water Molecule, 2019 (ink and acrylic on paper, 765 x 560mm)

Promiscuous, by some accounts,
or simply playing the field –
     indecisive, yet so decidedly
yourself, you are

all these things: ice flow,
cloud cover,
     bend of river,
crystalline structure

on an aeroplane window, fire-
bucket or drop
in the ocean, dissolver of a morning’s
     tablets or

mountain range. We envy you
your irresolution,
          the way you get along
with yourself, as glacier
     or humidity of

an overheated afternoon. A glass
of pitch-black water
               drunk at night.
Catchment and run-off. Water,
         we allow you

your flat roof and rocky bed
but there are also
          tricks we have taught you:
papal fountain, water
feature, liquid chandelier and
     boiling jug. It is, however,
                 your own mind

you make up, adept as you are
          – ‘the universal solvent’ –
at both piecing together
and tearing apart. With or

without us, you find your own
structure, an H and two O’s
                    in the infinity

of your three-sidedness, your
     triangulation, at once trinity
and tricycle. Two oars
and a dinghy, rowed.

Colourless, but for
‘an inherent hint of blue’,
     molecule in which
we are made soluble, the sum
of ...


Searching, please wait... animated waiting image