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)
Kei Millerthe Fat Black Woman
In Praise of the Fat Black Woman & Volume

(PN Review 241)
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)
Next Issue Bill Manhire, Warm Ocean and other poems David Rosenberg, On Harold Bloom: Poetry, Psyche, God, Mortality Frederic Raphael, Obiter Dicta Gwyneth Lewis, The Auras Vahni Capildeo, Odyssey Response
Poems Articles Interviews Reports Reviews Contributors
PNR 250 Poetry Archive Banner
Monthly Carcanet Books
PN Review Blog

This article is taken from PN Review 91, Volume 19 Number 5, May - June 1993.

For Harriet Wanklyn, author of The Eastern Marchlands of Europe Bella & Rosa & an Old Lady Donald Davie

Old Lady:
Voices, such voices … They assail me now;
No, not assail, assuage. Did I ever hear Admiral Horthy,
King Carol? Oh I think not. And not theirs
Voices to oil my wheel-chair. Leave aside
Dear dead Stanley's that is with me always,
The voices that float in and out are most
Unexpected: one just now a station-master's
In I think Debreczen - such
A courteous man, in 1931
Or 1932, it must have been. And then,
Just as surprisingly, a choked-up voice
From a reception in say Nottingham,
Somewhere like that. Now why
Should that voice come? It had no foreign accent
Although the name was Portuguese, I'm sure;
Naturalized for centuries, it could be.
Anglicist in fact, with a solid
Reputation, Stanley said he'd heard.
He asked, with emphasis and urgency
Under the bland convention of those times:
"What are the poets of Poland up to?" Now
How should I know? Poetry was not
My interest nor my business, then or now;
Was happier with my station-master. Still
The urgency, it must be, brings it home
Across this tonic Northern air I can
Profit from for thirty-minute spells.
Now I am drifting off again. So good,
Those times, so good … Tonic. I'm drifting off …

Unhappy Daddy, drifting off
In an ...

Searching, please wait... animated waiting image