In the latest issue:

Boris Johnson’s First Year

Ferdinand Mount

Short Cuts: In the Bunker

Thomas Jones

Theban Power

James Romm

What can the WHO do?

James Meek

At the Type Archive

Alice Spawls

Where the Poor Lived

Alison Light

At the Movies: ‘Da 5 Bloods’

Michael Wood

Cultural Pillaging

Neal Ascherson

Jenny Offill

Adam Mars-Jones

Shakespeare v. the English

Michael Dobson

Poem: ‘Now Is the Cool of the Day’

Maureen N. McLane

Tativille

David Trotter

Consider the Hare

Katherine Rundell

How Should I Refer to You?

Amia Srinivasan

Poem: ‘Field Crickets (Gryllus campestris)’

Fiona Benson

Diary: In Mali

Rahmane Idrissa

Art HistoryPatricia Beer
Close
Close

I am the man in the pink hat
Who catches everybody’s eye
And is not really there.

In the preparatory version
My hat was dowdy,
I was older.
Now I am ‘Who is that good-looking man?’
My brim is wide and bumptious.

I am immune, though hemmed in
By people working miracles,
Waving their arms about
In paeans of caring.

I am better dressed
Than goody-two-sleeves, Francis Xavier.
My robe is off-white silk
And pours down me like warm rain.
His is black and catches on his bones.

I hate do-gooders.
I believe the Good Samaritan
Sprang from behind a sharp rock
And mugged the man who famously went down
From Jerusalem to Jericho.
At the right moment he returned
With oil and wine and succour
And lives for ever.

Francis Xavier is bound to get to heaven
And he will no doubt pray for me
If I and my pink dynasty of hats
Are spared like late roses.
I have no heart for others,
He has none for himself.

Look, the dead rise up as white as candles,
With flame-coloured hair.
There is no room nor breath for them,
The air is stuffed with angels.
I am not giving up my place,
I have none,
Though I am central to this resurrection.

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