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
Poems Articles Interviews Reports Reviews Contributors
Gratis Ad 1
Monthly Carcanet Books
Next Issue Thomas Kinsella in conversation Jeffrey Wainwright comes to grips with St Chad Hsien Min Toh gives us a Korean perspective Iain Bamforth on Lou and Fritz: Sensible Shoes meets Starstruck Judith Bishop on Love and Self-Understanding in an Algorythmic Age

This poem is taken from PN Review 9, Volume 6 Number 1, September - October 1979.

Foreign Fall Michael Hamburger

How did you spend them, all those months and weeks?

And days and hours and minutes? They spent me.
Now massed, now one by one, down the long avenues
Cars flowed, flowed in and out, or stopped, or parked.
Throughout September, above the roofs of cars
Butterflies, monarchs, flapped wings all art nouveau
To flee, still to migrate, by panic or suction changed
To hovercraft until, released, they flopped
On to a shrub, if any, on to tarmac, and died.

OK. OK. Inside the cars were men
Or women, doubtless, children perhaps, who went
Where human beings go, about their business. Right?
And so did you. So did the butterflies
.

In other streets, anachronistically,
Were those who moved their legs, slowly or fast.
And there were those, the winos and the bums,
...


Searching, please wait... animated waiting image