PN Review Print and Online Poetry Magazine
News and Notes
Digital Access to PN Review
Access the latest issues, plus back issues of PN Review with Exact Editions For PN Review subscribers: access the PN Review digital archive via the Exact Editions app Exactly or the Exact Editions website, you will first need to know your PN Review ID number. read more
Poems Articles Interviews Reports Reviews Contributors
Gratis Ad 1
Monthly Carcanet Books
Next Issue Thomas Kinsella in conversation Jeffrey Wainwright comes to grips with St Chad Hsien Min Toh gives us a Korean perspective Iain Bamforth on Lou and Fritz: Sensible Shoes meets Starstruck Judith Bishop on Love and Self-Understanding in an Algorythmic Age

This poem is taken from PN Review 97, Volume 20 Number 5, May - June 1994.

Three Poems Robert B. Shaw

Selva Oscura

Impossible to examine this blown-up
photograph of brain cells without nudging
one's own to scare up some comparisons:
first, we might think here is a line of glyphs,
scratched across a scroll with a reedpen
in emulation of the subtle tracks
on Nile mud of Ibis, the first scribe.
But how to read them? If we trace the hint
of the word dendriteback to its Greek root
we can proceed from there sans lexicon,
and know them for a close-ranked row of trees,
brooding in purple almost black along
a twilit ridge, long-rooted, stubby-limbed,
and winter-leafless: all the birds have flown.
The artfully stained slide and keen microscopy

Searching, please wait... animated waiting image