PN Review Print and Online Poetry Magazine
News and Notes
PNR266 Now Available
The latest issue of PN Review is now available to read online. read more
Most Read... Eavan BolandA Lyric Voice at Bay
(PN Review 121)
Vahni CapildeoOn Judging Prizes, & Reading More than Six Really Good Books
(PN Review 237)
Tim Parksin conversation with Natalia Ginzburg
(PN Review 49)
M. Wynn ThomasThe Other Side of the Hedge
(PN Review 239)
Jamie OsbornIn conversation with Sasha Dugdale
(PN Review 240)
Drew MilneTom Raworth’s Writing ‘present past improved’: Tom Raworth’s Writing
(PN Review 236)
Next Issue Stav Poleg Running Between Languages Jeffrey Meyers on Mr W.H. (Auden) Miles Burrows The Critic as Cleaning Lady Timothy Ades translates Brecht, Karen Leeder translates Ulrike Almut Sandig
Poems Articles Interviews Reports Reviews Contributors
PNR 250 Poetry Archive Banner
PN Review New Issue

This poem is taken from PN Review 59, Volume 14 Number 3, January - February 1988.

Four Poems Charles Tomlinson

Catacomb

A capuchin - long acquaintance with the dead
  Has left him taciturn - stands guard
At gate and stairhead. Silent, he awaits
  The coin we drop into his dish, and then
Withdraws to contemplation - though his eye
  Glides with a marvellous economy sideways
Towards the stair. We descend and end up
  In a corridor with no end in view: dead
Line the perspective left and right
  Costumed for resurrection. The guidebook had not
    lied
Or tidied the sight away - and yet
  Eight thousand said, unseen, could scarcely mean
The silence throughout this city of the dead,
  Street on street of it calling into question
That solidity the embalmer would counterfeit.
  Mob-cap, cape, lace, stole and cowl,
...


Searching, please wait... animated waiting image