In the latest issue:

In Quarantine

Erin Maglaque

Après Brexit

Ferdinand Mount

Short Cuts: Springtime for Donald

David Bromwich

Meetings with their Gods

Claire Hall

‘Generation Left’

William Davies

At the North Miami Museum: Alice Paalen Rahon

Mary Ann Caws

Buchan’s Banter

Christopher Tayler

‘American Dirt’

Christian Lorentzen

Fiction and the Age of Lies

Colin Burrow

In Lahore

Tariq Ali

GOD HATES YOUR FEELINGS

James Lasdun

Rereading Bowen

Tessa Hadley

At the Corner House

Rosemary Hill

William Gibson

Thomas Jones

Poem: ‘Murph & Me’

August Kleinzahler

The Stud File

Kevin Brazil

John Boorman’s Quiet Ending

David Thomson

In Shanghai: The West Bund Museum

John-Paul Stonard

Diary: The Deborah Orr I Knew

Jenny Turner

The Word from Wuhan

Wang Xiuying

Two PoemsTim Liardet
Close
Close

after ‘Pincher Martin’

You have already drowned, although you think
you made it to the rock. The dwarf you build
is the means by which you reconstruct yourself,
stone by stone. The rock is a tooth. The gulls
that flap around your head are umbrellas shaken out,
reptiles that snap, the fat lobsters either side
are your own hands. A thousand years pass in the seconds
you dream you have kicked off your boots. Done,
but not. Time is torpedoed, a flame of belief.
Time bellies out but, for once, your snarly entitlement
cannot get you out of this: your stone-in-sock
of bluster, hem-weights of gall, mistreatment of women
pour like the whole Atlantic into your seaboots
which are still on your feet, which now drag you down.

The radio sputtered alive, I heard a tiny voice
which sounded like my own. I shiver,
shiver in oilskins and seaboot-socks on this rock,
death’s scapegrace shivering in its own bones.
I’ll have my will. By chaining down this rock
with names, I anchor it. Otherwise I fear
the rock might, like so much vapour, evaporate;
or else, without more weight, be flapped away,
tied to the foot of one mad, yodeling gull. Now I know
a man needs anything more than rock as much
as Mary’s fish a buckled velocipede.
These are the rock’s concerns. Out here, I verify
like crustaceans feeding on solid rock
the manumitted ego is mouth, is snarl.

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