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)
Jamie OsbornIn conversation with Sasha Dugdale
(PN Review 240)
Poems Articles Interviews Reports Reviews Contributors
PN Review Blog
Monthly Carcanet Books
Next Issue Vahni Capildeo The Boisterous Weeping of Margery Kempe Paul Muldoon The Fly Sinead Morrissey Put Off That Mask Jane Yeh Three Poems Sarah Rothenberg Poetry and Music: Exile and Return

This poem is taken from PN Review 170, Volume 32 Number 6, July - August 2006.

Four Poems Eric Ormsby

American Requiem (3)

To protect my head I bought a beaded cap,
The kind Muslims wear. It hugged my skull
Like the hand of Fatima, and buoyed me up

Against the sudden crumble of a pedestal,
A toppled plinth or capsized weather-vane,
It amuleted me against the spill

Of cinders from Con Edison, against the rain
Ripe with seething acids, it was a talisman
Against stray bullets or a plunging plane.

Thou art a worm , said Virgil, and no man.
I was surprised to hear him citing Scripture.
The Psalms had colonised my own brain-pan

Eons before. I recognised the stricture
But couldn't help myself: my cowardice
had long been my profoundest fixture.
...


Searching, please wait... animated waiting image