In the latest issue:

Loathed by Huysmans

Julian Barnes

Too early or too late?

David Runciman

Short Cuts: Five Victorian Marriages

Tom Crewe

Society as a Broadband Network

William Davies

Indefinite Lent

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

Landscape with Heavy Industry and Washing LineDavid Wheatley
Vol. 40 No. 14 · 19 July 2018

Landscape with Heavy Industry and Washing Line

David Wheatley

148 words

populate me
animate sensitively
the spirit of dwelling
behind the big blue
harbour storage tanks

I would have
children in animal masks
appearing round lampposts
and knowing the names
of the boats coming in

I desire fishermen
come home to sand-floored
cottages distant factory
boats moored level with
the breakwater wall

my life has been
a series of sailors’ knots
tightened and loosed
stronger than floodtides
and briefly lingering

traceries across
my palm where the blood
knot and perfection loop
have slipped through
my fingers

I have hung out
the laundry in front
of the house on the Sabbath
and had it back through
the letterbox I have had it

with all but
the ship in a bottle
the scene becomes sooner
or later the heaped rigging

with a yank
on a string and the whole
salty tale set down
and forgotten between
lace curtain and window.

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