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

ConfessionGay Clifford

My ghostly Mother, I me confess
I’ve been indecent, more or less.
Lapses of courage are always indecent.

You had a greyer time, in which was lent
The social way to lie. It was not meant
That you should say exactly what you miss.

It seems to me that I was always bent
Doing the things were safely social, meant
To block the questions are without redress.

But now I dread old fears that cannot press
Out into pleasure, where cowardice is rent.
My ghostly Mother. I do confess.

Lapses of courage most reveal our bent
The ways we will not say who tears our tent
The bear who rips and then demands a kiss.

But all you missed in decency I’m sent
To say should now be asked for, and the rent
In nature of our loss I now confess.

We are not silent, and the tears are less.
I tore myself our pleasure to express.
We social ghosts could now say what we meant.
The bear’s not there if we should strike our tent.

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