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)
Kei Millerthe Fat Black Woman
In Praise of the Fat Black Woman & Volume

(PN Review 241)
Henry Kingon Toby Martinez de las Rivas
(PN Review 244)
Eavan BolandA Lyric Voice at Bay
(PN Review 121)
Vahni CapildeoOn Judging Prizes, & Reading More than Six Really Good Books
(PN Review 237)
Next Issue Bill Manhire, Warm Ocean and other poems David Rosenberg, On Harold Bloom: Poetry, Psyche, God, Mortality Frederic Raphael, Obiter Dicta Gwyneth Lewis, The Auras Vahni Capildeo, Odyssey Response
Poems Articles Interviews Reports Reviews Contributors
PNR 250 Poetry Archive Banner
Monthly Carcanet Books
PN Review Blog

This poem is taken from PN Review 44, Volume 11 Number 6, July - August 1985.

Impotence Michael Hofmann

The dry electric heat of Cornwall turned us yellow
in a week . . . All that time, we didn't sweat
and I never touched you. Debility, cursed idleness,
I read slowly through my book of African stories.
The honeysuckle in the lanes came from some tropics,
and the strange, acidulous, blue-paper hydrangeas.
Farmers strung up crows as an example to others.
One afternoon, we lay down and slept in a warm mist.
That was our fourth holiday. Afterwards, I squatted
in your parents' house as your 'live-in lover' - a licit,
troublesome, almost unbearable state - while waiting
for our own place, the double or quits of living together.
I think those were your terms, the clannishness, amiability
and compromise of one roof . . . I hung around alone
while you went off to family weddings, and returned
in a gaggle of tradition and collective enchantment.
...


Searching, please wait... animated waiting image