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 Algorhythmic Age

This poem is taken from PN Review 20, Volume 7 Number 6, July - August 1981.

Plaza Mayor, Madrid, 1972 Francis Boylan

   I.
Hand in hand they came, hand in hand
An old couple hobbling towards a seat
Among the pillars of a square
Built by men who understood the heat.

Hand in hand they came, hand in hand
My hand turns verses on a table
While I tune to the inner voice of the square-
Thunder in the dust makes our dust ineffable.

   II.
Death without a death it was, not death the stranger.
Lord of the living and lord of the earth
Dear death, if we had their eyes to say!
Why then the smallest human action, a breath

Or a blink, the soul that lights a look or gesture,
The conversation of women on a bus,
Such breath would take our deaths away
If we could see and say what they saw in dust.

Death became destruction. The devil in Eve was Easter
Inverted, the liar whose liars pray
...


Searching, please wait... animated waiting image