In the latest issue:

Robespierre’s Chamber Pot

Julian Barnes

Too early or too late?

David Runciman

Short Cuts: Five Victorian Marriages

Tom Crewe

Society as a Broadband Network

William Davies

Fifteen days from now

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

Floral TributeSylvia Kantaris
Vol. 7 No. 4 · 7 March 1985

Floral Tribute

Sylvia Kantaris

143 words

They have arranged themselves like show animals:
the tulips sleek, blood-colour;
the slightly fierce carnations;
the double-daffodils with green tongues.
You’d think they should have squirmed,
shrouded in tissue-paper to be delivered
when they are so immaculately groomed,
their stalks taut and strong enough
to stand up to most weathers.

They seem to have stretched since they arrived
and shifted a little bit
although I didn’t catch them in the act.
It would be good to keep this splendour
of reds and yellows forever
if they were not already clinically dead.

At least, I suppose they died when they were cut,
though not so you would notice. Maybe there was
just a little shudder in the petals
but decorously managed, comme it faut,
as if the point and purpose of the seedtime and
the harvest was this ornamental, posthumous début.

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