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 92, Volume 19 Number 6, July - August 1993.

Poems Edwin Mason

D.J. Enright writes: Edwin Mason was born in Warwick in 1926, and read English at Downing College, Cambridge. He published books on teaching methods and became Reader in Urban Education at Sussex University. Ill health forced him to retire early, and he moved to Spain. An exhibition of his art work was held in Sussex University in 1992, the year in which he died, back in Warwick.

The following sonnets come from a sequence of forty poems entitled Cop's Body, Urquhart's euphemism for 'God's body' in translating Rabelais's euphemism, 'Vertus guoy' (Vertu Dieu). The words open Panurge's declaration that he drowns, perishes, and wanders astray when he considers 'the profound abyss of this world'. Varying in language between the demotic and the formal, the sequence is a self-exploratory though not self-justifying account, addressed to God, of the pleasures, pains and failures arising during a restless voyage through the years.
* * *

1.
The tide of sadness sweeps across my life
again, like rainsheets, shortening my sight
and clouding reason foggily as if
the cosmos is condensing into night.
Old-fashioned images invest the mind,
ghosts of the dead days when the optimist
I used to be, devoured down to the rind
every bright vision. Mornings lost in mist

drift in now from spaces beyond reach,
wrecking the trawls of sense as, half-seas-over,
my hulk lies sandlogged on this foreign beach,
the final dereliction of the rover.
Empty. Empty the hands, empty the sky.
...


Searching, please wait... animated waiting image