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 32, Volume 9 Number 6, July - August 1983.

Poems P.J. Kavanagh


When the Philistine host, besieging the muse-men, attacks,
It will find it had no need to bother:
Beleagured poets had long ago slaughtered each other:

Are dead for the good perhaps, because bored bullies surely
Will now conceive songs of self-praise and ennui
And some of the beefs, now muse-struck, become so refined
They in turn will turn and rend their kind.


Surprised at a dawning white-white with dews
On webs, in sheets on everything everywhere,
A work of darkness whiter than white air-
It comes again, the thought he cannot lose
(Though he'd like to) that the world is continuous speech,
Spoken once, always different, always out of reach.
Best, for sanity's sake, ignored: a noise

Searching, please wait... animated waiting image