My father and mother
were Adam and Eve
back to the garden
hand in hand,
forgiven and blameless,
their lives their own.

But this was no garden:
this attic flat
was an eye on the Thames
blinded with rain,
their landlord’s dog
a wolf at the door.

They didn’t care;
for all they knew
love was the roof
above their heads,
love paid bills
and kept them fed.

By night they took
their deckled ledger
and counted the cost
of the life to come:
a child’s clothes; a cot.

By day they wiped
their windows and saw
heavyweight, slow
dredgers explore
rich shipping-lanes below.

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.

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