Most Read... Rebecca WattsThe Cult of the Noble Amateur
(PN Review 239)
John McAuliffeBill Manhire in Conversation with John McAuliffe
(PN Review 259)
Patricia CraigVal Warner: A Reminiscence
(PN Review 259)
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 Gwyneth Lewis ‘Spiderings’ Ian Thomson ‘Fires were started: Tallinn, 1944’ Adrian May ‘Traditionalism and Tradition’ Judith Herzberg ‘Poems’ translated by Margitt Helbert Horatio Morpurgo ‘What is a Book?’
Poems Articles Interviews Reports Reviews Contributors
Reader Survey
PN Review Substack

This poem is taken from PN Review 31, Volume 9 Number 5, May - June 1983.

The Ship of Fools
WHAT happened to the Ship of Fools
  that sailed the winter sea
and to all the clever ones
  that sailed the ship with me?

When the lighthouse of the dark
  led onto a rock
that singing ship, did we sing on
  or did we die of shock?

And what about the sailormen?
  Are they all lying drowned
with question marks hooked in their jaws
  and little fish all round?

Who were all the famous fools
  that sailed our pleasure cruiser
round the world and back again,
  and what was her name? Medusa?

The foolish virgins lay about

Searching, please wait... animated waiting image