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.

The Attributes Robert Wells
1

Here are the path, the field. He takes this way
Setting his footprints in the spidery dew
Hunched from the rain, a sack about his shoulders
Lost as he moves, the sun's automaton.

Only the attributes can be expressed,
The body's useless grace, its constancy
Where impulse has no strength and these enough
To bear the sense of his surrendered soul.

2

His clothing mutes his skin as fate his soul
Gathering sweat and dust. Body and land
Touch on its reticence and are withheld,
Join there in secrecy and are absorbed,

So that he stays both weathered and unformed
And like these stones that go to make the walls,
Grizzled and worn but if you turn them over
Still white and even, still of the riverbed.
...


Searching, please wait... animated waiting image