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
Most Read... Rebecca WattsThe Cult of the Noble Amateur
(PN Review 239)
Eavan BolandA Lyric Voice at Bay
(PN Review 121)
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)
Vahni CapildeoOn Judging Prizes, & Reading More than Six Really Good Books
(PN Review 237)
Jamie OsbornIn conversation with Sasha Dugdale
(PN Review 240)
Poems Articles Interviews Reports Reviews Contributors
Gratis Ad 1
Monthly Carcanet Books
Next Issue Sasha Dugdale On Vision Yehuda Amichai's Blessing Chris Miller on Alvin Feinman Rebecca Watts Blue Period and other poems Patrick McGuinness's Mother as Spy

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

The Stranger in the Corridor John Ash

With vague attributes, they all wander in here
at one time or another. Often
I wish they would stay longer, if not to speak,
then perhaps to take on some more certain form, -

a swirl of colour (orange or green) in an otherwise
transparent marble that has just emerged,
of its own volition, from years of exile under the sofa.
And why has it come to us at this moment?

The unimpressive apparition might mean something, -
for an unexpected pause in the recitation of a letter
can have more power to disturb than a whole succession
of subsiding Valhallas, and we can barely read the words

announcing the discovery of the lost girl,
the mystery of the m├ęsalliance. Is it the dim light?
Or tears of the sort that are compared to pearls? . . .

We care about this more than a little
...


Searching, please wait... animated waiting image