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)
Tim Parksin conversation with Natalia Ginzburg
(PN Review 49)
Next Issue Subha Mukherji Dying and Living with De la Mare Carl Phillips Fall Colors and other poems Alex Wylie The Bureaucratic Sublime: on the secret joys of contemporary poetry Marilyn Hacker Montpeyroux Sonnets David Herman Memories of Raymond Williams
Poems Articles Interviews Reports Reviews Contributors
PNR 250 Poetry Archive Banner
PN Review New Issue

This poem is taken from PN Review 126, Volume 25 Number 4, March - April 1999.

Jeune Homme Nu Paul Wilkins


Painted in the kingdom of Louis-Philippe,
posed, or brought from how far back
in the memory of Hippolyte Flandrin,

he is naked, by a dark sea.
On a rock or at a cliff-edge (beyond him, the horizon
gives us little clue), he sits at evening or below a gathering storm,

his brow resting forward on his knees, forearms crossed
lightly round his shins, beneath those perfect
imagined buttocks a crumpled length of deep-green silk.

We are invited to admire the arc of his spine,
his thighs (especially), that slim right arm,
even the creased skin behind his ankles,

his slightly rippled stomach.
And there is the tiny tumulus of his uppermost vertebra, that almost
only the touch of your fingers could disclose;

there is (especially) the smoothness of every inch of him,

Searching, please wait... animated waiting image