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


No map or Latin ever

Netted one deity from this river.
TAW meant simply ‘water’.
What became of her
Who poured these pools from her ewer?

Who wove her names for her people
Into a shimmery tent – with alder and oak-leaf

And the flowing deer?
What were her real names?

She painted men’s and women’s souls
Into her tunnel water
With the brother-blood of raven and otter
As into cave-womb rock.

She it was
Laid the glow-cold sea-new salmon
Across their cradling arms
For their obedience.

She it was
With yellow nettle-pollen and the first
              thorn’s confetti
Crushed the May bridegroom’s
Head into her flood.

She bore him fresh splendour
Of eel-wreaths and a glut of white peal.
Where is she now?
A fairy

Drowned in the radio-active Irish Sea.
To the South-West Water Authority.
Her womb’s been requisitioned.

Now it’s the main sewer
Of the Express Dairy Cheese Factory –
‘Biggest in Europe’.
A miasma

Mourns on the town bridge at odd hours
Over her old home, now her grave.
That’s her.
Barely alive, she rots

But still stirs – a nightly, dewy spectre.
Nameless revenant
In her grave-clothes
Resurrected by her despair

For her shrunk trout, she wipes their mouths
Of the milk-herds’
Daily douche of detergent,
The earthen town’s overkill of hygiene.

And that’s her, weeping under alders
Holding, helpless, all night
Her flayed and fungus-crusted
Salmon to her breast. Soon she’ll be gone

Back up into granite Belstone
To get herself reborn – Eppie or Mavis –
A girl who will love only horses, and nothing
And nobody else ever. Who will try

To ride away into the sky.

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