In the latest issue:

Botanic Macaroni

Steven Shapin

What made the Vikings tick?

Tom Shippey

In the Lab

Rupert Beale

Will there be a Brexit deal?

Anand Menon

Short Cuts: Under New Management

Rory Scothorne

Out-Tissoted

Bridget Alsdorf

Sarah Moss

Blake Morrison

Poem: ‘Country Music’

Ange Mlinko

On the Trail of Garibaldi

Tim Parks

Art Lessons

Peter Campbell

You’ll like it when you get there

Tom Crewe

Early Kermode

Stefan Collini

‘The Vanishing Half’

Joanna Biggs

At the Movies: ‘The Truth’

Michael Wood

The Suitcase: Part Two

Frances Stonor Saunders

Poem: ‘Siri U’

Jorie Graham

Diary: Getting into Esports

John Lanchester

Iguana DaysJohn Fuller
Close
Close

We have seen this pebble before
Though three feet under. From year
To year it changes position.

The sea dwindles its contours
But not to my brief eye
In a mere decade of watching.

Stone keeps its secrets.
Its smoothness is a ruse
To content us with surface.

At the heart of stone is pure
Concentration, which life
Is foolishly in love with.

We believe that the stillness comes
From its exact possession
Of a truth that is lost to us.

*

In the Wiener Museum,
The iguana enacts
Such stillness, elbows braced

And leaning forward into
Thought, years of reflection
Shaping its motionless grin.

It reminds us of Sutherland’s Maugham,
Though there is not a trace
Of that creative arrogance.

Its skin has become stone,
The brain is a stone, finally
Empty of all anxiety.

To bask like this on stone,
Like stone: a century
Might pass before you move.

So we make our images:
The eternity of the pebble,
The monumental pose.

Out in the street sits Ferdinand
Raimund in the repose
Of his theatrical success.

The boulevards circle the city
As the mind deliberates upon
Its roaring purposes.

It is like the sea’s eager
Auditorium, between
The curtains of dusk and dawn

And Raimund is now marble,
Inattentive to applause, finger
Forever marking his chiselled page.

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