In the latest issue:

The American Virus

Eliot Weinberger

The Home Life of Inspector Maigret

John Lanchester

Story: ‘Have a Seat in the Big Black Chair’

Diane Williams

The Last Whale

Colin Burrow

In Beijing

Long Ling

Princess Margaret and Lady Anne

Rosemary Hill

At the Movies: ‘Arkansas’

Michael Wood

Ruin it your own way

Susan Pedersen

At Home

Jane Miller

The Ottoman Conundrum

Helen Pfeifer

Poem: ‘Muntjac’

Blake Morrison

The Inequality Engine

Geoff Mann

Short Cuts: In Tripoli

Jérôme Tubiana

Coetzee Makes a Leap

Christopher Tayler

At Auckland Castle: Francisco de Zurbarán

Nicola Jennings

Drain the Swamps

Steven Shapin

Diary: In the Isolation Room

Nicholas Spice

Two PoemsJohn Ashbery

The Love Interest

We could see it coming from forever,
then it was simply here, parallel
to that day’s walking. By then it was we
who had disappeared, into the tunnel of a book.

Rising late at night, we join the current
of tomorrow’s news. Why not? Unlike
some others, we haven’t anything to ask for
or borrow. We’re just pieces of solid geometry:

cylinders or rhomboids. A certain satisfaction
has been granted us. Sure, we keep coming back
for more – that’s part of the ‘human’ aspect
of the parade. And there are darker regions

pencilled in, that we should explore some time.
For now it’s enough that this day is over.
It brought its load of freshness, dropped it off
and left. As for us, we’re still here, aren’t we?

In the Time of Cherries

Is it raining yet? I quit. The bands of motivation
recede, in intensity, like paint chips –
heavy to pale. It is acknowledged
that this is the strength of things,

that they will not get better.
One day things actually were better.
It was a season in time, wrapped in song.
We liked standing at the edge of it,
imagining the wonderful things that could be here,
and that they are here, which is much the same.

Shy time that dives into the wings,
too embarrassed to acknowledge the applause,
dense, like a fountain attacking.

In another age of soda fountains and running boards
it hadn’t mattered. Now it was reduced to a bright
particular atom, deep blue and exemplary.

For you, seduction was a way of running,
though not catching up, like Atalanta’s run.
The apples were added by a later source.
Call it pagan, i.e. traceless. Call me
irresponsible, I’ll be back in August,
after the cherries have left.
How motivated is that?

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.

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