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)
M. Wynn ThomasThe Other Side of the Hedge
(PN Review 239)
Next Issue Jason Allen-Paisant, Reclaiming Time: On Blackness and Landscape Tara Bergin, Five Poems Miles Burrows, Icelandic Journal Jonathan Hirchfeld, Against Oblivion Colm Toibin, From Vinegar Hill
Poems Articles Interviews Reports Reviews Contributors
PNR 250 Poetry Archive Banner
Monthly Carcanet Books
PN Review Blog

This article is taken from PN Review 225, Volume 42 Number 1, September - October 2015.

The Poet Alone

(1) Continued Change
Neil Powell

1

They flee from me, that sometime did me seek
With naked foot, stalking in my chamber.
I have seen them gentle, tame, and meek
That now are wild, and do not remember
That sometime they put themselves in danger
To take bread at my hand; and now they range
Busily seeking with a continual change.

Thanked be fortune it hath been otherwise
Twenty times better; but once in special,
In thin array, after a pleasant guise,
When her loose gown from her shoulders did fall,
And she me caught in her arms long and small,
Therewith all sweetly did me kiss,
And softly said, ‘Dear heart, how like you this?’

It was no dream: I lay broad waking.
But all is turned thorough my gentleness
Into a strange fashion of forsaking;
And I have leave to go of her goodness
And she also to use newfangleness.
But since that I so kindly am served,
I would fain know what she hath deserved.

The stress of that first line says it all: ‘They flee from me, that sometime did me seek…’  The weight falls squarely on ‘me’, emphatic before the caesura and repeated a mere four words later: this is the poet as the subject or, to be more grammatically exact, the object of his own poem. Or so, at the start, it seems; but the next thing to notice about Sir Thomas ...


Searching, please wait... animated waiting image