In the latest issue:

An Ordinary Woman

Alan Bennett

Anglo-America Loses its Grip

Pankaj Mishra

Short Cuts: John Bolton’s Unwitting Usefulness

Mattathias Schwartz

Smells of Hell

Keith Thomas

Mrs Oliphant

Tom Crewe

Tippett’s Knack

Philip Clark

At Tate Modern: Steve McQueen

Colin Grant

Catherine Lacey

Nicole Flattery

Churchill’s Cook

Rosemary Hill

The ‘Batrachomyomachia’

Ange Mlinko

On Dorothea Lange

Joanna Biggs

Paid to Race

Jon Day

Poem: ‘Traveller’s Tales: Chapter 90’

August Kleinzahler

The Soho Alphabet

Andrew O’Hagan

Old Tunes

Stephen Sedley

Victor Serge’s Defective Bolshevism

Tariq Ali

The Murdrous Machiavel

Erin Maglaque

Diary: Insane after coronavirus?

Patricia Lockwood

Close
Close

Sand

Water muscling to shore at twilight,
Muscling over her ribs, the water so warm
For September. Thomas Paine said,
We just couldn’t stay boys
(regarding the colonists)
Or something to that effect.
Ladybugs gather, covering a pear,
Gulls screech about the deserted lighthouse.
How agreeable to discover
Someone loves you, or even later,
That you’ve become a fixture
In someone’s stable of influences.
You adjust your sunglasses and sip
Your merlot – a robust season
Of potatoes and cod, when generosity
Was more than a glimmer of an inn’s lights.
All this time without a plan or reliable income.
She drives like Barney Oldfield
Says her dad, arm on my shoulder,
Approaching dust on the beach track.
Just when I thought I was strongest
And most personable

Cottage in the Country

With tristful care
Stepping here, stepping there
How all the good measures
Leave the months as blank as detours –
As bored as I was, spying
From my room across the pasture
To hers with binoculars.
Her husband so aerodynamic
As we used to say. And she so sensitive?
I’d been hoping instead
For something like the rococo nude
Or the woman standing at her basin.
Short of work and short of ideas,
Omissible. Though I may have been
Projecting, as my sister implied.
When what one sets out to do gets replaced,
Devolved amongst cicadas, stray peeps
Of hummingbirds. Sand, dust and my bootprints –
At night a porous rain that regrooms
The country lane. The horse-owners
Nodding into cell phones. An idling plane.
She pulls at her bra straps. Dried sweat
And other imperfections. Disgusting, she tells
Herself. I turn away too. Though my notes
Indicate otherwise

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