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

GOD HATES YOUR FEELINGS

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

The Word from Wuhan

Wang Xiuying

Two PoemsJohn Ashbery
Close
Close

Days like Today

Sometimes, on Sundays,
they walk a little ways into the oval
spell others are soft on. She, a maid,
unknown to terror, rising out of the ridge,
its spreading cedars bemused and endearing.
The ancestors have never been influenced by
any kind of logic, not even a shrike’s,
and now I can’t even say what a hornet’s-eye view
of this catastrophe might englobe, if we were all
brothers and near to one another.
She has lovely things, but tainted
by the idea of a wall.

The Ciribiribin Society cancelled its annual
gymkhana, thank heaven for that, and the tool booth,
often described as ‘gritty’, had no choice
but to reel in its feelers. The difference
wasn’t anal, only velour. Such staff as I
command were only too pleased to hand
me over to the local authorities
once the matter had been digested,
i.e. disposed of. That, and the promise
of something wonderful being about to happen
in the tall grass that is never silent,
not completely, was reason enough for a celebration
that never came. We were half-sure
of who we were, but uncertain whether to greet
the fliers who arrived in great exultant waves
flying too close to the horizon and its goads.
It’s more like standing, you said, and I promised
not to break the spell, at least until morning.

Postlude and Prequel

Would I lie to you? I don’t know what to say to you,
and the season is coming into season just now
with long-awaited words from back when we were
friends and still are, of course, but the tides
pursue their course each day. Perturbing elements
listen in the wings, which are coming apart at the seams.
Is it all doggerel and folderol? A cracked knowledge?
Monkey journalism?

This is better than the other overlooked good
that dried up a while back and whispers.
The results, if any, won’t last too much longer
and I meanwhile am on my way to correct you
about the tickets and their availability.
We pitch and stiffen, elbowed by traffic mysteriously
descending the other lane of the avenue
as lamps burst in many-benched Central Park.

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