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

(PN Review 241)
Next Issue Vahni Capildeo The Boisterous Weeping of Margery Kempe Paul Muldoon The Fly Sinead Morrissey Put Off That Mask Jane Yeh Three Poems Sarah Rothenberg Poetry and Music: Exile and Return
Poems Articles Interviews Reports Reviews Contributors
PN Review Blog
Monthly Carcanet Books

This poem is taken from Poetry Nation 2 Number 2, 1974.

Five Poems (translated from the German by Michael Hamburger) Daniel Weissbort


THE EXECUTIONER

Why, my dear friend, were you being executed?
We knew the executioner, but all the same, who was he?
Why was I there? And in that last respite,
before the coup de grâce,
what did we speak of?
I have forgotten.

He tried to get you used to it - the roar,
the rush of air, the burning powder,
with demonstration shots, angled to pass
closer and closer. And you sat
at the table, inattentive, absent.
And in between his efforts to familiarise you with
the manner of your death, we chatted
fitfully, casually as ever
(as though I had been detailed somehow to distract you);
...


Searching, please wait... animated waiting image