In the latest issue:

Loathed by Huysmans

Julian Barnes

Too early or too late?

David Runciman

Short Cuts: ‘Parallel Lives’

Tom Crewe

Society as a Broadband Network

William Davies

Indefinite Lent

Thomas Jones

In 1348

James Meek

The House of York

John Guy

At the Movies: Pasolini’s ‘Teorema’

Michael Wood

Secrets are like sex

Neal Ascherson

Poem: ‘The Bannisters’

Paul Muldoon

Clarice Lispector

Rivka Galchen

Marius Petipa

Simon Morrison

At the Foundling Museum: ‘Portraying Pregnancy’

Joanne O’Leary

Caroline Gordon v. Flannery O’Connor

Rupert Thomson


Joe Dunthorne

Poem: ‘The Reach of the Sea’

Maureen N. McLane

Diary: Where water used to be

Rosa Lyster

How to set up an ICU

Lana Spawls

Follow the Science

James Butler

Midsummer in TownPatricia Beer
Vol. 1 No. 4 · 6 December 1979

Midsummer in Town

Patricia Beer

177 words

It is mid-June. In the stair-well
Darkness has papered every wall.
The air is cool. Clothes feel too thin.
The green outside is looking in
Through the opaque leaded pane.
The eclipse of summer comes again.

Beside me stands the black-eyed cat
Whose yellow stare saw winter out.
Now that the leaves have mobbed the light
Her deeper eyes are stripped for night.
In dealings with the longest day
We use the code of January.

The plants upon the window-sill
That looked so solitary and small
On Christmas Eve now seem to be
Outriders of the approaching tree,
Spies of an enemy in the shade,
Bell-wethers of the flocks they lead.

Beyond the front door, light and heat
Fulfil the stroller in the street.
Beyond the streets midsummer lies:
Open fields, straightforward skies.
No reticence in country glass,
A tree could walk right through the house.

Under this elegant town roof
Midsummer darkness is a spoof,
The magic of a trumped-up storm
That gives an out-of-kilter charm
To the precision of the pit
Waiting beneath the oubliette.

Send Letters To:

The Editor
London Review of Books,
28 Little Russell Street
London, WC1A 2HN

Please include name, address, and a telephone number.

Read anywhere with the London Review of Books app, available now from the App Store for Apple devices, Google Play for Android devices and Amazon for your Kindle Fire.

Read More

Sign up to our newsletter

For highlights from the latest issue, our archive and the blog, as well as news, events and exclusive promotions.

Newsletter Preferences