PN Review Print and Online Poetry Magazine
Most Read... Rebecca WattsThe Cult of the Noble Amateur
(PN Review 239)
Mark FordLetters And So It Goes
Letters from Young Mr Grace
(aka John Ashbery)

(PN Review 239)
Henry Kingon Toby Martinez de las Rivas
(PN Review 244)
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 Colm Toibin on Thom Gunn's Letters Allice Hiller and Sasha Dugdale in conversation David Herman on the life of Edward W. Said Jena Schmitt on Hope Mirrlees Brian Morton: Now the Trees
Poems Articles Interviews Reports Reviews Contributors
PNR 250 Poetry Archive Banner
PN Review New Issue

This poem is taken from PN Review 215, Volume 40 Number 3, January - February 2014.

The Second Zoo
After Borges, after Gilbert White
Simon Turner
At first the Kami, with his logical earthquakes, transfixed our seismologists; but, like most undersea deities, his shrines are scaly and sacred to the Japanese;

the Basilisk, when fed on poisonous eggs, becomes increasingly misshapen;

the tears of the Squonk are not commonly shed, as they mimic the frosty disposition of disappointed Minnesotans;

the meat of the Ramora, which is judiciously eaten, and often credited with a cartilaginous virtue, is weighty and insurmountable;

the Phoenix has in appearance a deathless, sacred, insistent, golden and Spanish plumage; yet that image is of astronomical antiquity, and her eggs are seldom;

the Leveller, beside its Bavarian girth, can render an enormous and celestial pyramid that leads the solar system to widen;

the Valkyries (the wild maidens) are mighty judges in a battle, burning the warriors, women and witches, and are so inexhaustible that a sword will not slay them;

Griffons, like all other sketchy monsters, ascend triumphantly, and yoke their strength to a worthy nature, explaining and signifying with fabulous bills;

Elves make a sinister and heathen habitation with cattle-skin and children's hair;

the Three-Legged Ass walks as if triumphant, and stands upon its forehead;

the Zaratan, when its rind first rises and is Irish, discovers a wooded and paradoxical bestiary; and also a merchant and a monk, recording legends upon the rocks as he laboureth: these symbolic inventions seem to be written for devils and saints;

Youwarkees marry on the wing, like angels, by 'charming the wife' as they fly over shipwrecks and islands; 

the Norns are, while weaving, abstracted and Germanic, bringing such men as forget their nature, with medieval refinement, to incapability;

Chimeras abound, and vomit on Arezzo, and on all the volcanoes of the Pirate Coast;

the Uroborus flows under the oceans in the twilight; as the earth becomes circular it springs for land, and sleeps in museums and fish-yards;

in Roman sculpture, Icthyocentaurs abound upon the oceans, translating and alluding: they always allude as they are abounding. Are not their allusions grammatical, like those of the seahorse?;

Searching, please wait... animated waiting image