In the latest issue:

The American Virus

Eliot Weinberger

The Home Life of Inspector Maigret

John Lanchester

Story: ‘Have a Seat in the Big Black Chair’

Diane Williams

The Last Whale

Colin Burrow

In Beijing

Long Ling

Princess Margaret and Lady Anne

Rosemary Hill

At the Movies: ‘Arkansas’

Michael Wood

Ruin it your own way

Susan Pedersen

At Home

Jane Miller

The Ottoman Conundrum

Helen Pfeifer

Poem: ‘Muntjac’

Blake Morrison

The Inequality Engine

Geoff Mann

Short Cuts: In Tripoli

Jérôme Tubiana

Coetzee Makes a Leap

Christopher Tayler

At Auckland Castle: Francisco de Zurbarán

Nicola Jennings

Drain the Swamps

Steven Shapin

Diary: In the Isolation Room

Nicholas Spice

Rehearsal for the Day of JoyMichael Symmons Roberts
Vol. 38 No. 1 · 7 January 2016

Rehearsal for the Day of Joy

Michael Symmons Roberts

141 words

The dancers are stretching, loosening
in their dressing rooms, half-dressed

in a mess of costume rails, water glasses
topped with a dusting of rouge.

Although it’s still too soon to dance,
look at the rush of guttered rain through grids

to join the surge towards an open sea.
See how the dry leaves catch in corners,

petals of a burnt manifesto
caught in a breeze between tenements.

And after curfew watch our flags
lift in unison like unbowed heads to mock us,

because the dance, though fugitive, is here,
and will not be held back.

Already it breaks on the roofs of our mouths
and we can barely contain the taste.

It is there in the off-key buskers, dog-howls,
click of the heels of those uniformed men

who think they hold this city captive still,
and soon must think again.

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