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)
Tim Parksin conversation with Natalia Ginzburg
(PN Review 49)
Next Issue Peter Scupham remembers Anthony Thwaite in 'Chimes at Midnight' Sinead Morrissey spends A Week in Gdańsk Rebecca Watts talks with Julia Copus about Charlotte Mew Boris Dralyuk and Irina Mashinski evoke Arseny Tarkovsky and his translator Peter Oram Frederic Raphael sends a letter to William Somerset Maugham
Poems Articles Interviews Reports Reviews Contributors
PNR 250 Poetry Archive Banner
Monthly Carcanet Books
PN Review New Issue

This poem is taken from PN Review 162, Volume 31 Number 4, March - April 2005.

Pilots Sinéad Morrisey

It was black as the slick-stunned coast of Kuwait
over Belfast Lough when the whales came up
(bar the eyelights of aeroplanes, angling in into the airport
out of the east, like Venus on a kitestring being reeled
to earth). All night they surfaced and swam
among the detritus of Sellafield and the panic
of godwits and redshanks.

                                                By morning
we'd counted fifty (species Globicephela malaena )
and Radio Ulster was construing a history. They'd left a sister
rotting on a Cornish beach, and then come here, to this dim
smoke-throated cistern, where the emptying tide leaves a scum
of musselshell and the smell of landfill and drains.
To mourn? Or to warn? Day drummed its thumbs
on their globular foreheads.

                                                Neither due,
...


Searching, please wait... animated waiting image