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 Algorythmic Age

This poem is taken from PN Review 5, Volume 5 Number 1, October - December 1978.

Five Poems Charles Tomlinson
FOR DANTON

                                                                                                                    'Bound to the fierce Metropolis . . .'
                                                                                                                                        The Prelude, Book X

In the autumn of 1793-the year in which he had instituted the Revolutionary Tribunal-Danton went back to his birthplace, Arcis-sur-Aube. After his return in November, he was to be arrested, tried and condemned.

Who is the man that stands against this bridge
And thinks that he and not the river advances?
Can he not hear the links of consequence
Chiming his life away? Water is time.
Not yet, not yet. He fronts the parapet
Drinking the present with unguarded sense:

The stream comes on. Its music deafens him
To other sounds, to past and future wrong.
The beat is regular beneath that song.
He hears in it a pulse that is his own;
He hears the year autumnal and complete.
November waits for him who has not done
...


Searching, please wait... animated waiting image