PN Review Print and Online Poetry Magazine
News and Notes
PNR266 Now Available
The latest issue of PN Review is now available to read online. read more
Most Read... 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)
M. Wynn ThomasThe Other Side of the Hedge
(PN Review 239)
Jamie OsbornIn conversation with Sasha Dugdale
(PN Review 240)
Drew MilneTom Raworth’s Writing ‘present past improved’: Tom Raworth’s Writing
(PN Review 236)
Next Issue Stav Poleg Running Between Languages Jeffrey Meyers on Mr W.H. (Auden) Miles Burrows The Critic as Cleaning Lady Timothy Ades translates Brecht, Karen Leeder translates Ulrike Almut Sandig
Poems Articles Interviews Reports Reviews Contributors
PNR 250 Poetry Archive Banner
PN Review New Issue

This report is taken from PN Review 164, Volume 31 Number 6, July - August 2005.

From a Journal R.F. Langley

14 January 2005
Already I have an image. A duck is turning on water, holding its head high and slightly tilted, looking about. It is a drake scaup, and I saw it on Benacre Broad the day before yesterday. Its head was dark, but definitely cobalt turquoise, precisely that, as a gloss on the dark feathers. The green of a mallard but not so green, more hidden. And wet, because the bird had just surfaced from a dive. It is January, and cold. The water must be numbingly cold. The bird rows itself around, curving across the choppy wavelets. I doubt if it matters that it is a scaup, beyond the fact that I would not have been looking at it so carefully had it been a mallard. Or, perhaps, what I am thinking now gives importance to the precise image of it, though, before I thought it, each detail did not matter so much.

The duck was not in any way close to me. I was a watcher. No matter what the physical distance was between myself and the bird, no matter that I was seeing it through binoculars so that what was there was very clear, the distance between us was absolute and the bird was unreachable. Once noticed, this distance was not only a feature of the scaup on the water, it instantly became the way the water's urgency conveyed itself, made its way past, in detail, sky blue dropped on it, silver ...

Searching, please wait... animated waiting image