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

(PN Review 241)
Vahni CapildeoOn Judging Prizes, & Reading More than Six Really Good Books
(PN Review 237)
Next Issue Sasha Dugdale, Intimacy and other poems Eugene Ostashevsky, The Feeling Sonnets Nyla Matuk, The Resistance Alex Wylie, Democratic Rags Brigit Pegeen Kelly, Two poems from the archive
Poems Articles Interviews Reports Reviews Contributors
PN Review Blog
Monthly Carcanet Books

This poem is taken from PN Review 184, Volume 35 Number 2, November - December 2008.

from Hesiod's Calendar Robert Saxton

This extract renders lines 383-617 of the Works and Days


XXVII

The farmer's life will make your fortune grow.
Start the harvest when the Pleiades start to rise.
Plough when the Sisters sink from autumn skies.
For forty nights these high-born girls lie low;

when the year rolls round, they swing into view again
as you work to sharpen your sickle-blade.
Wherever there's fertile land this law's obeyed -
in valley, on coastal strip, on inland plain.

To sow your seed, go naked - I'm serious.
Strip to your skin to plough, and strip to reap -
no better way to harvest Demeter's yield.

Strange though it sounds, this is no delirious
rite - it's expert practice. If you herd sheep,
be clothed; but not if your wealth's a golden field.
...


Searching, please wait... animated waiting image