In the latest issue:

The World Goes Bust

Adam Tooze

A nice girl like Simone

Joanna Biggs

The Arrestables

Jeremy Harding

Short Cuts: Built from Light

Daniel Soar


Edmund Gordon

The Ghent Altarpiece

Julian Bell

You can’t prove I meant X

Clare Bucknell

At the Royal Academy: Léon Spilliaert

John-Paul Stonard

Conrad Jumps Ship

Fredric Jameson

How to set up an ICU

Lana Spawls

Poem: ‘Mayfly’

Fiona Benson

Follow the Science

James Butler

Diary: #coronasomnia

Wang Xiuying

To the Snow QueenJohn Burnside
Vol. 38 No. 18 · 22 September 2016

To the Snow Queen

John Burnside

145 words

Quest’è ’l verno, ma tal che gioia apporte

Antonio Vivaldi

If you think she exists like that, you should think again.
It’s winter now, and love is not the question.

Children see wolves through the trees
and the beauty astounds them.
Winter, they say; it’s winter, and joy is the question.

Mistake her for what you will: when she stands in your path
at evening, she is not
the enemy you always hoped to find.

Her boarhounds await her command; they are always
more than predators
and joy is what they live for, heedless joy.

Whatever we bring to the forest is not enough.
No safety precautions; no field guides; no grandfather’s compass.

Children walk home from school in twos and threes
with mandarins and cloves and lengths of ribbon.
Some call her name in the dark.
                        She will never choose them.

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