How would you feel if a muntjac walked in? 
Would you greet it as an exotic 
Or fret about it gnawing the fruit trees? 
Take your time: the answer will say as much 
About you as the shade of your nail polish.
After that we can go on a cycle ride.
I suggest you play safe and wear a helmet,
But we’ll forget the hi-vis lycra –
Last time it caused a panic at the pig farm. 
The coast’s really quite near, with wheatfields en route
And pheasants that road-run rather than fly –
One morning I counted 73.
Do you think me fickle or merely eccentric?
I’ve been told I’m an excellent listener
But when I’m nervous I talk too much.
We’re so new to each other after all:
I don’t even know the date of your birthday.
Instead of cycling, we could take a stroll:
The clouds may look threatening but any booms
Will be fighter jets on training runs
And if it rains we’ll take shelter in the woods.
First let me take you round the orchard.
See where the bark has been stripped from the pear?
You thought I was teasing about the muntjac
But I don’t know you well enough to joke.

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.

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