In the latest issue:

Robespierre’s Chamber Pot

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


Joe Dunthorne

Poem: ‘The Reach of the Sea’

Maureen N. McLane

Diary: Where water used to be

Rosa Lyster


Lizard Orchid

All ears in the Mugello
What with the far cuckoo,
The harmonising frog
And crickets everywhere,
Domestic sounds as well –
Heidi baking a chestnut
Cake, Lorenzo’s ladder
Scraping the cherry tree –
We find in Silvano’s
Sloping upper meadow
Close to the wood, regal
Among seeding grasses,
An orchid, each lower lip
A streamer, extroversion
Requiring subtle breezes,
A name to silence cuckoo
And frog, lizard orchid.

Did the muddy boots of Tommies
Really bring back to England
From the Great War lizard-orchid
Seeds – stalks taller than you’d think,
Tongues little-finger-long, ribbons
For widow hats – dead soldiers
Returning, adhesive souls?

Two Otters

She toddles to the lake without a name,
Your two-year-old, and watches an otter,
Her first otter, half-expected by you
Because, when you were expecting her,
You watched your last otter from this spot,
Your body a holt for otter and child.

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