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

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

Revism

Joe Dunthorne

Poem: ‘The Reach of the Sea’

Maureen N. McLane

Diary: Where water used to be

Rosa Lyster

An Unclosed DoorAllen Curnow
Close
Close
Vol. 13 No. 12 · 27 June 1991
Poem

An Unclosed Door

Allen Curnow

206 words

Freshened by any wind, sanitised
with pine and cypress, the slaughterhouse

is cool as a church inside. High rafters
too. A gallery. The hooks hang ready.

Nothing else intercepts the day’s late
blaze across the Seven Sleepers’ chins

and Cooper’s Knobs, on this point between
adjacent bays, only a blotched light

can get past, as the wind in the trees,
fidgeting to the doorway. The door

on its iron track having been wheeled back
wide enough, the small boys, me and Bob

Crawford, can see in. One of the men
turns our way, in the act of closing his

left hand on the lamb’s throat, at the bass
viol the right, the bowing hand slashes

deep! in blood stepped in so far will up
to the eyes or the ears be enough?

They’re all busy now, the hosing down
will have started. Add water and sweep

shit pellets puddled blood, the outfall
gulps, discharges over the rock-face

misting all the way to the green bay
water, with a noise of waters, where

the round stain dilates. An enrichment
I think the children had been silent, all

this time. I will have pulled my bike, off
his, on the tree. Nothing alters this

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