In the latest issue:

In Quarantine

Erin Maglaque

Après Brexit

Ferdinand Mount

Short Cuts: Springtime for Donald

David Bromwich

Meetings with their Gods

Claire Hall

‘Generation Left’

William Davies

At the North Miami Museum: Alice Paalen Rahon

Mary Ann Caws

Buchan’s Banter

Christopher Tayler

‘American Dirt’

Christian Lorentzen

Fiction and the Age of Lies

Colin Burrow

In Lahore

Tariq Ali

GOD HATES YOUR FEELINGS

James Lasdun

Rereading Bowen

Tessa Hadley

At the Corner House

Rosemary Hill

William Gibson

Thomas Jones

Poem: ‘Murph & Me’

August Kleinzahler

The Stud File

Kevin Brazil

John Boorman’s Quiet Ending

David Thomson

In Shanghai: The West Bund Museum

John-Paul Stonard

Diary: The Deborah Orr I Knew

Jenny Turner

The Word from Wuhan

Wang Xiuying

Close
Close

Far be it from me to mention
things that really happen

but I did go to this fish farm once
and did discover this:

that despite the long cold pools of fish
outdoors and the bubbling tanks

indoors, and the rocks they sell
(one pound fifty for a real rock),

and the age-sloughing smell of green
spawnwater and the wavering ferns,

and well, the fishes themselves –
not every mother’s son is there

to make a start on a fishworld.
I mean, I made the joke –

Give me a grill pan! A joke, though.
Then I also learnt that ugly ones

are bred with selected pretty ones,
black blurting goggling ones

with ones who seem to port their orange
brains outside their orange heads

and any with the equally
slender lemon-blues.

So no wonder some don’t swim as well
as I could at infant school, but

bob, and get bobbled away
by my slightest fingerdipping, don’t

seem equipped even to shock,
let alone lure or blend, seem not

unlike the distressing upshot
of a baby’s day of fun.

I also learnt that fish can die
of their own accord, oblivious,

and when they do they rise and float
while hell continues darting loose

below. I knew fish died! It was
seeing one side up, on the water,

length of thing with nothing in it
got me.

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