In the latest issue:

Loathed by Huysmans

Julian Barnes

Too early or too late?

David Runciman

Short Cuts: Five Victorian Marriages

Tom Crewe

Society as a Broadband Network

William Davies

Fifteen days from now

Thomas Jones

In 1348

James Meek

The Yorkists

John Guy

At the Movies: Pasolini’s ‘Teorema’

Michael Wood

Whitehall Spookery

Neal Ascherson

Poem: ‘The Bannisters’

Paul Muldoon

Clarice Lispector

Rivka Galchen

Marius Petipa

Simon Morrison

At the Foundling Museum: ‘Portraying Pregnancy’

Joanne O’Leary

Gordon v. O’Connor

Rupert Thomson

Revism

Joe Dunthorne

Poem: ‘The Reach of the Sea’

Maureen N. McLane

Diary: Where water used to be

Rosa Lyster

No One Could Relax around JezebelAnne Carson
Close
Close
Vol. 34 No. 8 · 26 April 2012
Poem

No One Could Relax around Jezebel

Anne Carson

313 words

Shame Stack

Shame requires
the eyes of others
unlike guilt. Eyes
of Elijah the Tishbite saw
in Jezebel a person with much
to be ashamed of. There is a link
between shame and mercy people who
lack the one lack the other. Psychoanalysts say
shame ruins your capacity for reverie by making cracks
in the mind where it is dangerous for thought to wander. In
the end Jezebel’s own eunuchs throw her off the parapet. Her blood
is on the wall and on the horses.

Stack of What Made Jezebel Jezebel

Adrenaline.
The threadlike pressure of small social conditions.
Her father his terrific purple eyebrows.
A historical mistrust felt by people in the west for
anything that comes from the east
or by people in the north for what comes from the
south and so on.
This streaming of existence within me (she said).
Again
the picking
of small stones
out
of
the rice.
Elijah’s prophecy (her blood licked by dogs) which
it was.
The
gold smoke (her Buick) at dawn against a frozen
sun.

Cheapjack Stack

The Phoenicians were a commercial people, they
traded
metals,
weapons, ostrich eggs,
shoelaces, whistles, nuts, panthers, letters of the
alphab-
et.
They invented the alphabet.

They invented alphabetical order.

They used these inventions for commercial
transac-
tions
which
were
scribbled
on
the
backs
of
envelopes
and
vanished from history. From the Phoenicians the
Greeks
stole
the
alphabet,
added a few letters
and sat down to write the classics of Western civilisation.
Jezebel is filed between ice cream and karma.                  

Thunderstorm Stack

A bird
flashed
by as if
mistaken
then it starts.
We do not
think speed
of life. We
do not think
why hate Jezebel.
We think
who’s
that
throwing
trees against the house.
Jezebel was
a Phoenician.
Phoenician
thunderstorms
are
dry and
frightening, they arrive one inside the other as torqued ellipses.

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