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 82, Volume 18 Number 2, November - December 1991.

Two Poems John Matthias

THE SINGER OF TALES
(for Charles Simic)

I

It's a strange sound
the first time you hear it

it's a kind of moan
& the old man bows in his lap

on the one taut string
of his gusle

warming up as if he were a kind of
West Virginian or a

Smoky Mountain fiddler
but the blues he has to play

the sorrow he will tell goes back
six hundred years

then it was almost too much to bear
but now he sings

II

Nothing of it written down
before the 1600s
...


Searching, please wait... animated waiting image