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 Subha Mukherji Dying and Living with De la Mare Carl Phillips Fall Colors and other poems Alex Wylie The Bureaucratic Sublime: on the secret joys of contemporary poetry Marilyn Hacker Montpeyroux Sonnets David Herman Memories of Raymond Williams
Poems Articles Interviews Reports Reviews Contributors
PNR 250 Poetry Archive Banner
PN Review New Issue

This poem is taken from PN Review 36, Volume 10 Number 4, March - April 1984.

Prehistories Peter Scupham
1

Adrowse, my pen trailed on, and a voice spoke:
'Now, you must read us "Belknap".' My book was open.

I saw their faces; there were three of them,
Each with a certain brightness in her eyes.

I would read 'Belknap'. Then a gardener's shears
Snipped fatefully my running thread of discourse.

And in my indices, no poem upon which
I could confer this honorary title.

Foundering in dictionaries and gazetteers,
I came there: Belas Knap, a chambered tomb.

The lips are closed upon the withered barrow:
A dummy portal, a slant lintel hung

Beneath a scalp of ruinous grass, her walls
A packed mosaic of blurred syllables.

2

Entering is a deployment of small silences,
Frail collusions and participations.
...


Searching, please wait... animated waiting image