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
PNR 250 Poetry Archive Banner
Monthly Carcanet Books
PN Review Blog

This poem is taken from PN Review 187, Volume 35 Number 5, May - June 2009.

Prayer to Saint Agatha Evan Jones
We can affirm nothing with confidence concerning her history…
As an attribute in art her breasts, which were cut off, are often
shown on a dish… she was credited with the power of arresting the
eruptions of Mount Etna, so she is invoked against any outbreak of
fire.
                                                                   Butler’s Lives of the Saints

Martyr and holy virgin of the third
century, refuter of married life,
pure thinker and resister of lechers,
I wish to write sooner, while you were young
and living among the countries of our
civilisation’s birth. I have every
country in mind now and every childhood,
and you are a thousand women whose breasts
have been severed because of their beliefs.
I will say here something of life without you.

The kind of men you knew are gone. Women
...


Searching, please wait... animated waiting image