Most Read... Rebecca WattsThe Cult of the Noble Amateur
(PN Review 239)
John McAuliffeBill Manhire in Conversation with John McAuliffe
(PN Review 259)
Patricia CraigVal Warner: A Reminiscence
(PN Review 259)
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)
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
Reader Survey
PN Review Substack

This poem is taken from PN Review 50, Volume 12 Number 6, July - August 1986.

The Holiday Album Charles Boyle

1 A MEETING

My friend ... So soon on first-name terms, so soon
our language lessons enable us to call
what lies between us salt, pepper, bottle of wine
or empty bottle. Sunlight's a feast
to eyes starved of the strong simplicities
of sea, sky, the cut-throat edge of whitewashed walls
against the blue: I'm like a child again, hungry
for knowledge I'll never forget, these very words
spelt out on the tablecloth the waiter
is about to whisk off - and with such dash,
such sleight-of-hand and modest eyes as become
a conjurer hired for the lull after feeding,
a true professional who leaves everything just
as he found it, and our looks of incomprehension.

2 A PREFERENCE
...


Searching, please wait... animated waiting image