In the latest issue:

Loathed by Huysmans

Julian Barnes

Too early or too late?

David Runciman

Short Cuts: Five Victorian Marriages

Tom Crewe

Society as a Broadband Network

William Davies

Indefinite Lent

Thomas Jones

In 1348

James Meek

The Yorkists

John Guy

At the Movies: Pasolini’s ‘Teorema’

Michael Wood

Whitehall Spookery

Neal Ascherson

Poem: ‘The Bannisters’

Paul Muldoon

Clarice Lispector

Rivka Galchen

Marius Petipa

Simon Morrison

At the Foundling Museum: ‘Portraying Pregnancy’

Joanne O’Leary

Gordon v. O’Connor

Rupert Thomson


Joe Dunthorne

Poem: ‘The Reach of the Sea’

Maureen N. McLane

Diary: Where water used to be

Rosa Lyster

Sunday LunchMichael Vince
Vol. 2 No. 6 · 3 April 1980

Sunday Lunch

Michael Vince

186 words

It’s hot and there are flies here and I drank
A lot too much; the children scream and run
Out from the tables, chasing in the sun;
 A driver peers and shakes his head
Then points towards the fig-trees further down
Where trout for lunch float idly in a tank;
My neighbour fills my glass, empties his own,
 Then toys with crumbled ends of bread.

We drink to aimlessness, the stronger wine;
I bathe in it just balanced in my chair
And weight of heat hanging in tired air.
 The others all seem closed in light,
In glass, or water yielding to the touch;
Our talk trails slowly from the shading vine
In ways that gesture not to say too much,
 Or nod to make their meaning right.

And when the afternoon begins to sway,
My neighbour sings, his voice surging but tense;
It meets a tone and pulse under the sense,
 Forbidden darkness below words,
Learnt by heart from a hard testament.
Down in their easy depth the children play;
Watching his face they bask in their content
 Then dart away like startled birds.

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