In the latest issue:

Botanic Macaroni

Steven Shapin

What made the Vikings tick?

Tom Shippey

In the Lab

Rupert Beale

Will there be a Brexit deal?

Anand Menon

Short Cuts: Under New Management

Rory Scothorne


Bridget Alsdorf

Sarah Moss

Blake Morrison

Poem: ‘Country Music’

Ange Mlinko

On the Trail of Garibaldi

Tim Parks

Art Lessons

Peter Campbell

You’ll like it when you get there

Tom Crewe

Early Kermode

Stefan Collini

‘The Vanishing Half’

Joanna Biggs

At the Movies: ‘The Truth’

Michael Wood

The Suitcase: Part Two

Frances Stonor Saunders

Poem: ‘Siri U’

Jorie Graham

Diary: Getting into Esports

John Lanchester

Listening for Lost PeopleDenise Riley
Vol. 36 No. 10 · 22 May 2014

Listening for Lost People

Denise Riley

125 words

Still looking for lost people – look unrelentingly.
‘They died’ is not an utterance in the syntax of life
Where they belonged, no belong – reanimate them
Not minding if the still living turn away, casually.
Winds ruck up its skin so the sea tilts from red-blue
To blue-red: into the puckering water go his ashes
Who was steadier than these elements. Thickness
Of some surviving thing that sits there, bland. Its
Owner’s gone nor does the idiot howl – while I’m
Unquiet as a talkative ear. Spring heat, a cherry
Tree’s fresh bronze leaves fan out and gleam – to
Converse with shades, yourself become a shadow.
The souls of the dead are the spirit of language:
You hear them alight inside that spoken thought.

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