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


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


        Yes, another
poem about flowers and kids. Our son
thinks this one is a ball,
or full of balls: like jesters’ caps with bells,
one for each stem, or old pawnbrokers’ signs,
the lot next door in rainy April weather
dangles, and then in sunlight lifts, what he
believes he ought to pluck and grasp and throw,

if we would let him. Little does he know
how each bud, given cues
from symbiotic ants, will open up
pink surface after surface, flagrant scraps
of incandescent fabric coming loose
like grown-ups’ lives or last month’s local news,
like promises, or generosity,
or overuse. So soon it isn’t fair,

what he could take in his small fist all spring
and shake in anger when we told him no –
that is, don’t touch them – nods, and will agree
to share its colours: still unravelling,
curled up against its core,
each of the heavy flowers starts to be
a casualty of gravity, so low
it looks ashamed, as if the earth expected more.

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