In the latest issue:

Loathed by Huysmans

Julian Barnes

Too early or too late?

David Runciman

Short Cuts: ‘Parallel Lives’

Tom Crewe

Society as a Broadband Network

William Davies

Indefinite Lent

Thomas Jones

In 1348

James Meek

The House of York

John Guy

At the Movies: Pasolini’s ‘Teorema’

Michael Wood

Secrets are like sex

Neal Ascherson

Poem: ‘The Bannisters’

Paul Muldoon

Clarice Lispector

Rivka Galchen

Marius Petipa

Simon Morrison

At the Foundling Museum: ‘Portraying Pregnancy’

Joanne O’Leary

Caroline Gordon v. Flannery O’Connor

Rupert Thomson

Revism

Joe Dunthorne

Poem: ‘The Reach of the Sea’

Maureen N. McLane

Diary: Where water used to be

Rosa Lyster

How to set up an ICU

Lana Spawls

Follow the Science

James Butler

The LettuceMaurice Riordan
Close
Close

I gave the barrow-girl two quid for it,
a frisée lettuce, a wild intricate wheel,
nature’s very own bright-green mandala.
A lot of money but I paid up gladly,
even though at that time, anxious and overtired,
I parted most weeks from something: my bike
hitched to a loose strut; then gloves, umbrella,
wallet, cards, glasses – all left on the train.
I came to think of it as tribute: a mean,
but bearable, percentage exacted by
my personal Luck-god, who’d bring us through
that winter, and the next. So I paid up,
grateful to reach my own front door,
to enter a house at peace and register
that palpable all’s well, before I swopped
briefcase and shopping for two small bodies,
I rebuke him now only for that one green
Mediterranean thing departing from me,
days before Christmas, for the Kent coast.

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