PN Review Print and Online Poetry Magazine
News and Notes
PNR266 Now Available
The latest issue of PN Review is now available to read online. read more
Most Read... 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)
M. Wynn ThomasThe Other Side of the Hedge
(PN Review 239)
Jamie OsbornIn conversation with Sasha Dugdale
(PN Review 240)
Drew MilneTom Raworth’s Writing ‘present past improved’: Tom Raworth’s Writing
(PN Review 236)
Next Issue Stav Poleg Running Between Languages Jeffrey Meyers on Mr W.H. (Auden) Miles Burrows The Critic as Cleaning Lady Timothy Ades translates Brecht, Karen Leeder translates Ulrike Almut Sandig
Poems Articles Interviews Reports Reviews Contributors
PNR 250 Poetry Archive Banner
PN Review New Issue

This poem is taken from PN Review 199, Volume 37 Number 5, May - June 2011.

Five Poems Alison Brackenbury
Off Piccadilly

Byzantium has come to London.
How? Greece gave a weary nod. Syria yawned.
The packing cases, trundled off in heat,
Were wheeled in, draped by snow like graves at dawn.
The young dark waiter tells me at a run
'Much better when Byzantium has gone.'

What is Byzantium? It is gold, gold, gold,
Gilt flecks the saints' pursed lips, swims each bent head.
Great collars clasped a woman's throat, fine links
Nuzzled her hips, inviting as a bed.
One hand, which carved a dark wood siege, has found
A soldier's bare face pressed into the ground.

Elephants died to deck Byzantium.
But Slavs marched from the North. The Turks swept East.
The crowded saints, their sufferings stilled in shapes,

Searching, please wait... animated waiting image