In the latest issue:

In Quarantine

Erin Maglaque

Après Brexit

Ferdinand Mount

Short Cuts: Springtime for Donald

David Bromwich

Meetings with their Gods

Claire Hall

‘Generation Left’

William Davies

At the North Miami Museum: Alice Paalen Rahon

Mary Ann Caws

Buchan’s Banter

Christopher Tayler

‘American Dirt’

Christian Lorentzen

Fiction and the Age of Lies

Colin Burrow

In Lahore

Tariq Ali

GOD HATES YOUR FEELINGS

James Lasdun

Rereading Bowen

Tessa Hadley

At the Corner House

Rosemary Hill

William Gibson

Thomas Jones

Poem: ‘Murph & Me’

August Kleinzahler

The Stud File

Kevin Brazil

John Boorman’s Quiet Ending

David Thomson

In Shanghai: The West Bund Museum

John-Paul Stonard

Diary: The Deborah Orr I Knew

Jenny Turner

The 24,000 Islands of StockholmPaul Durcan
Close
Close
Vol. 23 No. 15 · 9 August 2001
Poem

The 24,000 Islands of Stockholm

Paul Durcan

How you do go on
About the politics
Of Stockholm –
About how too controlled,
Too predictable
Are the politics of Stockholm;
How the politics of Stockholm
Are like the citizens of Stockholm,
Too careful, too clean.

On, on, you go
About the Swedish Academy;
How the waters are awash
With bobbing condoms.
I doubt – but keep
The thought to myself –
That condoms ‘bob’,
Whatever their content
Or lack of content.

Have you nothing to say
About the islands –
The 24,000 islands of Stockholm?
Nothing?
About even, say, a single skerry?
A rock, a pine, a hut?
Nothing?
Not even about one of them?
One of the 24,000
Islands of Stockholm?

Nothing about skimming
With forefinger and thumb
Water-rolled slivers
Of infant granite?
Nothing about how oaks
Can conceive in crevices
On a rock in the Baltic?
Nothing about why
A man and a woman
Might choose to be sparse
On an island in Stockholm?
Nothing about how the Bergman
Question posed by the Garden
Of Eden is whether a human
Can handle leisure or not?
About the origin of deprivation?
About whether or not
The Goth has got it right
In the islands of Stockholm –
In the 24,000
Islands of Stockholm?

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