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
Most Read... Rebecca WattsThe Cult of the Noble Amateur
(PN Review 239)
Eavan BolandA Lyric Voice at Bay
(PN Review 121)
Vahni CapildeoOn Judging Prizes, & Reading More than Six Really Good Books
(PN Review 237)
Drew MilneTom Raworth’s Writing ‘present past improved’: Tom Raworth’s Writing
(PN Review 236)
Jamie OsbornIn conversation with Sasha Dugdale
(PN Review 240)
Alejandro Fernandez-OsorioPomace (trans. James Womack)
(PN Review 236)
Poems Articles Interviews Reports Reviews Contributors
Oxford University Press
Gratis Ad 1
Next Issue Kei Miller on poetry and volume control Parwana Fayyaz's Afghan poems Gabriel Josipovici bids farewell to Aharon Appelfeld Craig Raine plants a flag A.R. Ammons from two angles

This poem is taken from PN Review 130, Volume 26 Number 2, November - December 1999.

Two Poems Philip Burton

A Word to The Unwise

Who gave the name of 'rape' to the dainty oil-seed?
Rapum, Latin word for turnip. Why mislead?

Lucus, Latin for the woodland shade,
came to mean the obverse: 'light', instead.
So lucus a non lucendo is a word-made-paradox,
a knowing word, a deceitful etymon, a fox
in hounds' clothing with a double-cross in each eye.
He takes his alter ego everywhere. As an alibi.

In the pseudonymity of 'English Public School'
'Public' doesn't play the game at all.
Public? Oh come on! But the derivation
of the name reveals, like Briar Fox, its true bacon.
The sense of 'Public', intended by its eponym,
pricks old-boys to public service. The antonym,
'private', leaps to attention in this more democratic age
...


Searching, please wait... animated waiting image