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 John McAuliffe poems and conversation Charles Dobzynski translated by Marilyn Hacker Maya C. Popa in conversation with Caroline Bird Richard Gwyn With Lowry in Cuernavaca Jane Draycott Four Poems
Poems Articles Interviews Reports Reviews Contributors
PNR 250 Poetry Archive Banner
Monthly Carcanet Books
PN Review Blog

This article is taken from PN Review 39, Volume 11 Number 1, July - August 1984.

Two Modern Masters: Sisson and Milosz Donald Davie

C. H. Sisson and Czeslaw Milosz - the unlikely pairing has this much to commend it: that it rests on experience, on experiencing an identical or near-identical cadence in the one poet's verse, and in the other's. Here are four instances from Milosz's Bells in Winter, of verses which end on a cadence that readers of Sisson must surely recognize as familiar:


And if they say that all I heard was the rushing of a Heraclitean
  river
That will be enough, for the mere listening to it wore me down . . .
                                                 ('A Short Recess')

I would have wept over my exposed delusion
Had the custom of regretting our offenses been preserved . . .
                                                       (ibid.)

I made a pledge, what kind, I don't remember.
I wore a silver scout badge, then a gold one.
I took an oath, in mystical lodges, in underground assemblies
Swearing by the freedom of the people, or perhaps by brother-
  hood . . .
                                                      (ibid.)

What beauty. What light. An echo.
You lean from the window of a train, behind the house of the
  signalman
Children wave their kerchiefs. Woods flow by. An echo.
Or she, in a long dress embroidered in gold
Steps down and down the stairs, your beloved.
The so-called sights of the earth. But not many . . .
                                              ('The Accuser') ...


Searching, please wait... animated waiting image