Most Read... Rebecca WattsThe Cult of the Noble Amateur
(PN Review 239)
John McAuliffeBill Manhire in Conversation with John McAuliffe
(PN Review 259)
Patricia CraigVal Warner: A Reminiscence
(PN Review 259)
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 Gwyneth Lewis ‘Spiderings’ Ian Thomson ‘Fires were started: Tallinn, 1944’ Adrian May ‘Traditionalism and Tradition’ Judith Herzberg ‘Poems’ translated by Margitt Helbert Horatio Morpurgo ‘What is a Book?’
Poems Articles Interviews Reports Reviews Contributors
Reader Survey
PN Review Substack

This report is taken from PN Review 143, Volume 28 Number 3, January - February 2002.

Elizabeth Jennings Jane Davis

The Old Friend of an Old Poet

Now you are at the typewriter, steady,
the note-paper curled around the barrel
in the old way: you perform this office.

When you learned to type, in the old century
you and she were girls in, unimagined
this her, this you, this secretary's task.

You type 'she is unable to relate
to the poems'. You report, 'she continues
to be unable to deal with her affairs'.

Oh, her affairs, unended, at this point
ending the long lamp-lit nights unable
to rest, ceasing the long and steady gaze

you saw her level at the coming end.
And now 'in residential care' her work
is done and you come home and write for her.

...


Searching, please wait... animated waiting image