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.

Poem John Heath-Stubbs

We met on VJ night. Supposedly
Celebrating victory. The cloud over Hiroshima
Cast turbid reflections in the beer.
We have walked in that shadow ever since.

The years pass. The time-gap between us
Somehow furnishes the illusion
That it gets smaller. The pedantic youth you took in hand,
Slashing pomposities, is now grown into -
Hardly Achilles, but a running man,
Who's always about to catch you by the tail.
He doesn't succeed. And I will call you
A phoenix, not a tortoise.

The Moira extend your thread. Continue,
George, to instruct and delight,
Exasperate, excruciate. In the centre of each poem,
Among the smoking cinders, lies
A new-hatched Dionysian deity, imprudently
Wobbling his thyrsus.

Meanwhile the world grinds on,
Grudging, indifferent. I see you lift
(My God, a dog) a sinister leg against
The off-side rear wheel of Juggernaut.

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

Readers are asked to send a note of any misprints or mistakes that they spot in this poem to
Further Reading: - John Heath-Stubbs More Poems by... (19) Articles by... (2) Interview with... (1) Reviews of... (2)
Searching, please wait... animated waiting image