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)
M. Wynn ThomasThe Other Side of the Hedge
(PN Review 239)
Next Issue Jason Allen-Paisant, Reclaiming Time: On Blackness and Landscape Tara Bergin, Five Poems Miles Burrows, Icelandic Journal Jonathan Hirchfeld, Against Oblivion Colm Toibin, From Vinegar Hill
Poems Articles Interviews Reports Reviews Contributors
PNR 250 Poetry Archive Banner
Monthly Carcanet Books
PN Review Blog

This poem is taken from PN Review 95, Volume 20 Number 3, January - February 1994.

Five Poems Judy Gahagan

Sudden Hoar-frost
This morning I wake petrified; sudden hoar-frost
surrounds my house with wild-haired ancients
frozen alive rampaging where they shouldn't;

the skeins of starved white hair have snagged
streaming from the wards of that Hotel de Dieu -
my mother's eyes: 'Why have you brought me here?'

And my hair is deep brown; the unflinching shine
of the ageless conker perpetuating its high noon;
dense mahoganies will outlive me in this room

where most mornings I wake petrified: a presence,
assigned in plain clothes, buffs its nails, waiting
for the tactful moment: 'So, as soon as you are ready'.

One day, but not yet, my hair will suddenly go white
overnight, I'll wake to the shock of its hoar-frost
as my mother did, wandering that perilous dawn, lost.

Searching, please wait... animated waiting image