In the latest issue:

Boris Johnson’s First Year

Ferdinand Mount

Short Cuts: In the Bunker

Thomas Jones

Theban Power

James Romm

What can the WHO do?

James Meek

At the Type Archive

Alice Spawls

Where the Poor Lived

Alison Light

At the Movies: ‘Da 5 Bloods’

Michael Wood

Cultural Pillaging

Neal Ascherson

Jenny Offill

Adam Mars-Jones

Shakespeare v. the English

Michael Dobson

Poem: ‘Now Is the Cool of the Day’

Maureen N. McLane

Tativille

David Trotter

Consider the Hare

Katherine Rundell

How Should I Refer to You?

Amia Srinivasan

Poem: ‘Field Crickets (Gryllus campestris)’

Fiona Benson

Diary: In Mali

Rahmane Idrissa

Close
Close

For Eugene O’Connell

Despite its soft ephemerality,
They say the growth of elder is a sign
Of age-long human habitation.
Under the elders in our decaying farmyard
Stands the last sugán chair, rotted at all
Its skilfully carved joints, so the lightest
Tenant would cause it to collapse.

There’s one like it in the dying house
Of Padraig O’Keeffe at Glounthane Cross:
Not our Glounthane, but the one near Cordal
Where my forebears came from. I stole from there
A small piece of lino, geography-shaped
Like the booty-map in Treasure Island,
Where it lay among foxed holy pictures.

The stairs are dangerous; and no matter
How hard you strain you can’t fool yourself
Into hearing his spectrally played polkas there,
Even in that valley of ghost-houses.
You have more chance five miles east the road,
Up through the forestry where the Blackwater
Rises and you can imagine anything
In that wind that blows at you all the way
From the Atlantic which, astonishingly,
You can see: its last gleam of silver
Both at Tralee and off the Blasket islands.

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