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 poem is taken from PN Review 269, Volume 49 Number 3, January - February 2023.

Three Poems Sean O'Brien

‘…sleeping the deep, deep sleep of England, from which I sometimes fear that we shall never wake.’

Our age of afternoons was ending
all that summer while we slept
the little sleep the English call their own.

Sleep was a pool the sun could never warm.
The surface lay unmoved
and sightless while the clouds swam on

across an empty screen into the past.
And that was it, a dim eternity.
Until the weather changed and there we were

again, dry-mouthed on burning beds,
half-listening as autumn thunderstorms
broke on the coast, and on the Downs

we didn’t own (we had an understanding, though).
In any case, all this was surely meant

Searching, please wait... animated waiting image