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 Hal Coase 'Ochre Pitch' Gregory Woods 'On Queerness' Kirsty Gunn 'On Risk! Carl Phillips' Galina Rymbu 'What I Haven't Written' translated by Sasha Dugdale Gabriel Josipovici 'No More Stories' Valerie Duff-Strautmann 'Anne Carson's Wrong Norma'
Poems Articles Interviews Reports Reviews Contributors
PN Review 276
PN Review Substack

This poem is taken from PN Review 41, Volume 11 Number 3, January - February 1985.

Poems Elizabeth Smither


After meals for years he vomited
The bile of his discovery
Diagnosis: the wrong temperament.

Square peg in a round hole we call it
This gigantic discovery sitting on
The forehead of a happy temperament.

Wisdom in it? Nature's
Way of getting the message across
A man so mild, such a happy disposition

That the discovery would not go away
But leap over decade after decade
Being worn down by Darwin's reasonableness.

A small price for a kind of pregnancy
And the bile was clear, if you can call
Green clear, of impediment.

Searching, please wait... animated waiting image