In the latest issue:

The Word from Wuhan

Wang Xiuying

‘The Man in the Red Coat’

Luc Sante

Is it OK to have a child?

Meehan Crist

Short Cuts: Ubu Unchained

August Kleinzahler

Bury that bastard

Nicole Flattery

Surplus Sons

Clare Bucknell

Oliver Lee Jackson

Adam Shatz

The Servant Problem

Alison Light

Poem: ‘1 x 30’

Anne Carson

The Old Bailey

Francis FitzGibbon

Jiggers, Rods and Barleycorns

James Vincent

More Marple than Poirot

J. Robert Lennon

On Rachael Allen

Matthew Bevis

Like a Ball of Fire

Andrew Cockburn

The Staffordshire Hoard

Tom Shippey

Blessed Isles

Mary Wellesley

At the Movies: ‘Jojo Rabbit’ and ‘A Hidden Life’

Michael Wood

Redeeming Winnie

Heribert Adam

Diary: A Friendly Fighting Force

Nick McDonell

Two PoemsAdam Thorpe
Close
Close

Drombeg

County Cork

Between the portals and the axials lay the central slab
with its flotsam of euro-cents and hair-bangs, wet-scarred words,
a Ryanair boarding pass kept from flight by a pebble.

Just when the grey rain cleared enough
to take a photograph and find the atmospherics
I’d so looked forward to, your mobile rang.

Our teenage son in Corsica, wild-camping with a hammock
in the heatwave. You stepped to the left and the signal died.
I asked you if you’d heard his voice. ‘No,’ you sighed,

wondering why he’d phoned – assuming it was not
his friends who’d tried, or someone official from a ward.
You’d been standing on the line between the axials

and the portals, where the sun still casts
its westerly rays on midwinter’s day above the mountain
by the sea, precise as a laser . . . so, shuttling in cross-stitch

and staring at the mobile, we searched like fallen adepts
for the place, that square foot of pulse
you’d stepped out of sync from, not quite

keeping sentinel enough. And wandering still further,
out of the stone circle and up into the heather
then worrying the track back to the gravel of car park,

it was as if we’d caught on the too-warm air
word of something dreadful that only the wise
might know how to neutralise: deciding what the offerings

should be; and who must be sacrificed, and where.

Tour Magne, Nîmes

A broken molar on the top of the hill
stooled by pigeons who make a dovecote of it,

dazzling in the sunlight swept by today’s
mistral, it flaunts its imperial decay

in green spots of pellitory-of-the-wall,
in broken arches and a ragged crown

giddying into clouds where the look-outs once
surveyed the world as known to Rome.

It reminds me of the Pentagon. And of my son’s
Czech schoolmate – a brilliant girl –

who threw herself over its rail last year,
leaving only a note in her bedroom:

You thought you knew me. I’m sorry.

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.

Letters

Vol. 28 No. 24 · 14 December 2006

It was with horror that I saw that an error on the part of my finger or mind had substituted an ‘l’ for a ‘b’ in my poem ‘Dromleg’. The stone circle, probably the best-known in Ireland, is of course called Drombeg.

Adam Thorpe
Nîmes

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