In the latest issue:

The World Goes Bust

Adam Tooze

A nice girl like Simone

Joanna Biggs

The Arrestables

Jeremy Harding

Short Cuts: Built from Light

Daniel Soar


Edmund Gordon

The Ghent Altarpiece

Julian Bell

You can’t prove I meant X

Clare Bucknell

At the Royal Academy: Léon Spilliaert

John-Paul Stonard

Conrad Jumps Ship

Fredric Jameson

How to set up an ICU

Lana Spawls

Poem: ‘Mayfly’

Fiona Benson

Follow the Science

James Butler

Diary: #coronasomnia

Wang Xiuying

Humber Doucy LaneIan Pople
Vol. 14 No. 2 · 30 January 1992

Humber Doucy Lane

Ian Pople

163 words

I collected up the windfalls and packed them
in a cupboard for the winter. They didn’t keep

the taut smell of bark and musty autumn
but shrivelled and yellowed like the tapes

put round the trees to trap
the caterpillars that climbed the trunks.

I cut-out the middleman, took
the fruit to grocers’ in the precinct

and put a notice on the gate. Mother said
that I could keep the money. But no one came

to buy. In my shed, fifty yards
from the house, dried spiders and a drumkit

replaced the chemist’s bench and tubes;
gas-jars I brewed oxygen in to flare

magnesium strips; the whole hut
and the orchard brightened. As instructed

by my teachers I turned my head away.
Years afterwards, our neighbour, Mrs Johnson,

splintery with Alzheimer’s, walked naked
up and down the lane. Her labrador pup,

hit a glancing blow by a car on Rushmere Road,
pulled weakly from his basket to lick my face.

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