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

Revism

Joe Dunthorne

Poem: ‘The Reach of the Sea’

Maureen N. McLane

Diary: Where water used to be

Rosa Lyster

The LoaningSeamus Heaney
Close
Close

As I went down the loaning to the fields
the wind shifting in the hedge
was like an old one’s whistling speech.
I knew then I was in the limbo of lost words.

They had flown there from outhouses and crossroads,
from under rotten carts and churchyard walls.
I saw them streaming out of birch-white throats
to nest a while in those old places, then
on a day close as a stranger’s breath
rising in smoky crowds on the summer sky
to settle in the uvulae of mossed stones
and the soft lungs of the hawthorn.

I knew then why from the beginning
the loaning breathed upon me
though now each hole in the hedge was blowing cold
as I went stooped and shivering beneath
the spit blood of a few last haws and rose-hips.

Send Letters To:

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

letters@lrb.co.uk

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