Most Read... Rebecca WattsThe Cult of the Noble Amateur
(PN Review 239)
John McAuliffeBill Manhire in Conversation with John McAuliffe
(PN Review 259)
Eavan BolandA Lyric Voice at Bay
(PN Review 121)
Patricia CraigVal Warner: A Reminiscence
(PN Review 259)
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 Gwyneth Lewis ‘Spiderings’ Ian Thomson ‘Fires were started: Tallinn, 1944’ Adrian May ‘Traditionalism and Tradition’ Judith Herzberg ‘Poems’ translated by Margitt Helbert Horatio Morpurgo ‘What is a Book?’
Poems Articles Interviews Reports Reviews Contributors
PN Review 276
PN Review Substack

This poem is taken from PN Review 72, Volume 16 Number 4, March - April 1990.

Three Poems Les A. Murray

Major Sparrfelt's Trajectory
öland, Southern Baltic, 1st June 1676

Our ship was a rope-towered town
built inside its own wall;
carved Romans, niches, mantlings in gilt
made its stern a palace, a Popish cathedral.

That day as we joined battle
my sword swung so wide with the tilt
our mighty Crown assumed, turning
that my crossed right hand missed its hilt

as from lidded and horsecollar ports
the ponderous ship's cannon ran back:
shrieks mingled with bronze thunder below
- all life then split upward with the crack

of glare that stripped my rational mind
and left me in the one mind of animals.
...


Searching, please wait... animated waiting image