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)
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)
Tim Parksin conversation with Natalia Ginzburg
(PN Review 49)
Next Issue Alberto Manguel TRANSLATING DANTE Sasha Dugdale translates Osip Mandelstam ‘ON FINDING A HORSESHOE’ Horatio Morpurgo THE THAMES BY NIGHT Jenny Lewis SEEING THROUGH THE WORDS Frederic Raphael TO VLADIMIR NABOKOV
Poems Articles Interviews Reports Reviews Contributors
PNR 250 Poetry Archive Banner
PN Review New Issue

This poem is taken from PN Review 28, Volume 9 Number 2, November - December 1982.

Seven Old Railway Posters Peter Levi
 
1.
The night mail is this yellow and brown light
where a man not young, solid as brickwork
frozen in the hot act of shoveling
whizzes away, and the blue driver glares,
all quite motionless in furnace beams,
all frozen, all design, all lantern light,
all is Venetian, flying architecture
and decorated gateways of iron.
And yet, the stooping man laborious
the furnace of his own feeding defines;
the driver a self-portrait, sea-captain,
man of arts and philosopher and king
his soul eaten away behind his face.
A flask of tea, a sore back at midnight.
Passenger, all this hangs behind your world,
it is peopled by godlike undermen.
...


Searching, please wait... animated waiting image