TLM Issue

The London Magazine commemorates the seventieth anniversary of Indian independence by featuring a number of Indian writers in this issue.   Poetry by Robert Wrigley, Fiona Sampson, George Tardios, Alastair Llewellyn-Smith, Raoul Schrott & Timothy Adès, Tabish Khair, Patrick James Errington, Sudeep Sen Short Fiction by Anne O’Brien and Souyma Bhattacharya Featuring: Shaun Fynn on Visions for the New Era of the Patina of Time Henry Hurst on Reading to Percy Lubbock Navtej Sarna on My London Sagari Chhabra on the Surviving Freedom Fighters of India Pratik Kanjilal on Pushkar Charanpreet Khaira on Cultural Readings of the Refugee Crisis Reviews by Isabel Galleymore, Will Stone, Houman Barekat, Teresa Monachino, Claire Crowther Andrew Lambirth and Andre van Loon Art by Josh Gluckstein

Articles

To the Man

  I was a songbird, one of the kind whose name I do not know, plain of plumage but with a melodious, many-noted song. I was on the deer bone perch outside the window, and it seemed I was singing to myself, inside, that I was watching myself singing, and that I was hearing myself singing to the man I was, as though I were the bird and not the man I would be when I woke and forgo…

By Robert Wrigley

Basra 1958

  Three of them boarded the bus rifles pointed aggressively bayonets fixed and furious glinting brightly in the stippled morning sun. Spiders’ webs caught the light in the tattered grass that flowed down to the shark-sliced Shatt al Arab. The others milled around outside snarling smoking slouching, staring through the windows at us. They no more than teenage soldiers and we i…

By Alastair Llewelyn-Smith

I Have Called You By Your Name

  I. Hvalfjörður I’d promised Sam whales, a substitute for his Mum who was off on holiday with her new boyfriend. Sam knows all about whales. He’s most fascinated with the larger ones; the blue and the humpback, the narwhal too, with its unicorn tusk. So, I did the research and chose Iceland. A few days in, we take our first whale spotting trip. The old whaling boat sets its course per…

By Anne O'Brien

In Search of Freedom

  I was in a taxi searching for her house, but was anxious; would she meet me, tell me her life story and most of all, let me record her? As I passed blue-glazed mosques and women in the streets – whose heads were covered with tudongs – I had wondered what had brought me to this strange city in a foreign land, alone? I was searching for the truth, but did the truth not have multiple dime…

By Sagari Chhabra

Mitad del Mundo

  The poem is in the form of a letter sent from Ecuador to a loved one, far away. Mitad del Mundo, Middle of the World, is the name of the imposing Equator monument there. The phrase equally means Half the World (Hemisphere) which suggests the distance the letter will travel. The poem’s two halves make a mirror image: in this translation, as in the original, the rhymes are perfect, an…

By Raoul Schrott

Cultural Readings of the Refugee Crisis

  In jeans and a t-shirt, demurely slouching at the end of a table of prominent and impassioned speakers, Hassan Akkad cuts an inconspicuous figure. The panel debate has an impressive range of speakers, but, as always seems to be the case at such events, it’s a little unclear just who’s who. A room at the LSE usually used for teaching has been thrown open to the public, and circumstances…

By Charanpreet Khaira

Godhuli (Cowdust)

  Beyond the bend there were buffaloes, Cows and a single boy perched, Half-naked, on the back of a buffalo. It was the twilight hour of cowdust. Suddenly the angle of a woman’s arm Collecting cowdung cakes by the roadside Made clear this blended hour, a word That had nestled like a bird in my soul, Made clear the dungsmoke swathed Outlines of a mud village, its cowdung- Smea…

By Tabish Khair

Rain When it Falls on Bracken

  Rain when it falls on bracken silkily is like a sea of sounds and you are deep among them so deep you cannot fathom how you came to be here far out and given wholly up to these sensations no meaning offers itself like a rule for reading what is everywhere and here you are in rain cloaked in rain and breathing it as in your first home Fiona Sampson MBE is a poet and…

By Fiona Sampson

Pushkar

The poor save up everything, even their ghosts. The little family of desert farmers descending the steps to the holy lake of Pushkar has waited patiently for a whole generation of patriarchs to die. With careful husbandry, they have accumulated four brothers and cousins of similar age, who had shared a surname. Now, two generations have gathered to speed their spirits to the other world. On the …

By Pratik Kanjilal

‘sawed railings’: Poetic and Cultural Identities

Scaffolding, Eléna Rivera, Princeton University Press, 2017, £14.95 (paperback) Playing the Octopus, Mary O’Malley, Carcanet, 2016, £9.99 (paperback) Eighty-two sonnets, which comprise Scaffolding, Eléna Rivera’s third collection, are the result of her project to write a sonnet every day for a year. Each piece is titled with the date it was composed (and, in some cases, the date it was rev…

By Isabel Galleymore

Paintscapes

  Maggi Hambling: Edge, Marlborough Fine Art, London, 1 March - 13 April 2017 One of this spring’s most rewarding exhibitions was Edge by Maggi Hambling at Marlborough Fine Art in London’s Albemarle Street (1 March - 13 April). Hambling (born 1945) is painting at the top of her form, and this is probably her finest solo show yet. Consisting of new oil paintings and painted bronze scul…

By Andrew Lambirth

The Sheer Fun of Power

  Odessa Stories, Isaac Babel, translated by Boris Dralyuk, Pushkin Press, October 2016, pp. 224, £12.00 (paperback) ‘Babel speaks in one voice about the stars and the clap’ - Viktor Shklovskii Like most memorable film actors, Jack Nicholson can be easy to impersonate. The grin, the knowing, seedy, lustful look. The quiet, smoke-damaged voice. The propensity to sudden violence. An…

By Andre van Loon

Pigeon Feathers

  At the time the boy had no idea that this was the last thing they were doing as a family. He was the one who had discovered the pigeon. It was plump and seemed canny, and sat immobile for hours in the pot behind the tall plant on the ledge of the kitchen window. Intermittently it snapped its head from side to side as though alert to prying eyes or danger, ‘Ma, Ma! Mamma!’ he shrieke…

By Soumya Bhattacharya

In A Raw State

Crude, Sally O’Reilly, Eros Press, October 2016, £12.00 (paperback) There are no talking telescreens or robot slaves in the fictive world of Sally O’Reilly’s Crude; it is not so much a dystopia as an oddball parallel universe, in which the comings and goings of academics are reported in tabloid newspapers and their recherché disputes are practically matters of state. The setting is a country …

By Houman Barekat

Disembodied

1. My body carved from abandoned bricks of a ruined temple, -------------------------------------from minaret-shards of an old mosque, from slate-remnants of a medieval church apse, -------------------------------------from soil tilled by my ancestors. My bones don’t fit together correctly------------------------- as they should — the searing ultra-violet light from Aurora Borealis --…

By Sudeep Sen

Hardwrought Works

War Music, Christopher Logue, Faber, 2015, edited by Christopher Reid, 341pp £20 (hardback) Spills, Angela Leighton, Carcanet, 2016, 183pp, £12.99 (paperback)   Homer’s Iliad has been adored – not too strong a word – for over two thousand years. English readers have thrilled in previous centuries to translations by Chapman and Pope. One of our greatest living poets, Alice Oswald, r…

By Claire Crowther

Reading to Percy Lubbock

  Percy Lubbock (1879-1965) was an English author, principally a literary critic, admired also in his lifetime for his fine English prose style. He had lived in Italy since his marriage in the late 1920s, for much of the time since the early 1930s in a handsome villa on the Ligurian coast near Lerici in north-west Italy, built for his wife Sybil and him to a traditional Tuscan design. Sy…

By Henry Hurst

Vanessa Can Stand Alone

Vanessa Bell (1879-1961), Dulwich Picture Gallery, until 4 June 2017 ‘Life apart from human beings was almost completely visual for me.’ - Vanessa Bell, 1941 Can anything more possibly be wrung from the interminably pored over members of the Bloomsbury group, those privileged prototype free- thinkers, self-exiled in their rural retreats tending their creative subculture and colourfully int…

By Will Stone

My London

  Navtej Sarna is an Indian writer and diplomat. He is presently India’s ambassador to the United States. This is the twenty-second article in our regular series of “My London”. Professional diplomats are usually prepared to go and live in different parts of the world, coming to terms as best as they can with widely varying political and cultural landscapes, foreign languages and acce…

By Navtej Sarna

Nyasi - Grass

  After monsoon rains When wind shivers Grass taller than my head undulates like snakes Waves invitingly to travellers To step into its boomslang-greenness Be wary. To step into high grass is to be enveloped In itching seeds Trip over roots Become soaked. If near a village to be covered in fleas. Grass can become an enemy Camouflage predators. Around African huts it is c…

By George Tardios

Visions for the New Era of the Patina of Time

More than sixty-five years have passed since Le Corbusier was commissioned by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru to fulfil the role of architect and planner for Chandigarh. A bold experiment, Chandigarh broke from tradition to define a new vision for the future of urban living and became one of the twentieth century’s most powerful expressions of modernism. The origins of Chandigarh lie in the 1947 Partiti…

By Shaun Fynn

Essays

In Search of Freedom

  I was in a taxi searching for her house, but was anxious; would she meet me, tell me her life story and most of all, let me record her? As I passed blue-glazed mosques and women in the streets – whose heads were covered with tudongs – I had wondered what had brought me to this strange city in a foreign land, alone? I was searching for the truth, but did the truth not have multiple dime…

By Sagari Chhabra

Cultural Readings of the Refugee Crisis

  In jeans and a t-shirt, demurely slouching at the end of a table of prominent and impassioned speakers, Hassan Akkad cuts an inconspicuous figure. The panel debate has an impressive range of speakers, but, as always seems to be the case at such events, it’s a little unclear just who’s who. A room at the LSE usually used for teaching has been thrown open to the public, and circumstances…

By Charanpreet Khaira

Pushkar

The poor save up everything, even their ghosts. The little family of desert farmers descending the steps to the holy lake of Pushkar has waited patiently for a whole generation of patriarchs to die. With careful husbandry, they have accumulated four brothers and cousins of similar age, who had shared a surname. Now, two generations have gathered to speed their spirits to the other world. On the …

By Pratik Kanjilal

Reading to Percy Lubbock

  Percy Lubbock (1879-1965) was an English author, principally a literary critic, admired also in his lifetime for his fine English prose style. He had lived in Italy since his marriage in the late 1920s, for much of the time since the early 1930s in a handsome villa on the Ligurian coast near Lerici in north-west Italy, built for his wife Sybil and him to a traditional Tuscan design. Sy…

By Henry Hurst

Vanessa Can Stand Alone

Vanessa Bell (1879-1961), Dulwich Picture Gallery, until 4 June 2017 ‘Life apart from human beings was almost completely visual for me.’ - Vanessa Bell, 1941 Can anything more possibly be wrung from the interminably pored over members of the Bloomsbury group, those privileged prototype free- thinkers, self-exiled in their rural retreats tending their creative subculture and colourfully int…

By Will Stone

My London

  Navtej Sarna is an Indian writer and diplomat. He is presently India’s ambassador to the United States. This is the twenty-second article in our regular series of “My London”. Professional diplomats are usually prepared to go and live in different parts of the world, coming to terms as best as they can with widely varying political and cultural landscapes, foreign languages and acce…

By Navtej Sarna

Visions for the New Era of the Patina of Time

More than sixty-five years have passed since Le Corbusier was commissioned by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru to fulfil the role of architect and planner for Chandigarh. A bold experiment, Chandigarh broke from tradition to define a new vision for the future of urban living and became one of the twentieth century’s most powerful expressions of modernism. The origins of Chandigarh lie in the 1947 Partiti…

By Shaun Fynn

Fiction

I Have Called You By Your Name

  I. Hvalfjörður I’d promised Sam whales, a substitute for his Mum who was off on holiday with her new boyfriend. Sam knows all about whales. He’s most fascinated with the larger ones; the blue and the humpback, the narwhal too, with its unicorn tusk. So, I did the research and chose Iceland. A few days in, we take our first whale spotting trip. The old whaling boat sets its course per…

By Anne O'Brien

Pigeon Feathers

  At the time the boy had no idea that this was the last thing they were doing as a family. He was the one who had discovered the pigeon. It was plump and seemed canny, and sat immobile for hours in the pot behind the tall plant on the ledge of the kitchen window. Intermittently it snapped its head from side to side as though alert to prying eyes or danger, ‘Ma, Ma! Mamma!’ he shrieke…

By Soumya Bhattacharya

Poetry

To the Man

  I was a songbird, one of the kind whose name I do not know, plain of…

By Robert Wrigley

Basra 1958

  Three of them boarded the bus rifles pointed aggressively bayonets f…

By Alastair Llewelyn-Smith

Mitad del Mundo

  The poem is in the form of a letter sent from Ecuador to a loved one, …

By Raoul Schrott

Godhuli (Cowdust)

  Beyond the bend there were buffaloes, Cows and a single boy perched, …

By Tabish Khair

Rain When it Falls on Bracken

  Rain when it falls on bracken silkily is like a sea of sounds and y…

By Fiona Sampson

Disembodied

1. My body carved from abandoned bricks of a ruined temple, ----------------…

By Sudeep Sen

Nyasi - Grass

  After monsoon rains When wind shivers Grass taller than my head undu…

By George Tardios

Reviews

‘sawed railings’: Poetic and Cultural Identities

Scaffolding, Eléna Rivera, Princeton University Press, 2017, £14.95 (paperback) Playing the Octopus, Mary O’Malley, Carcanet, 2016, £9.99 (paperback) Eighty-two sonnets, which comprise Scaffolding, Eléna Rivera’s third collection, are the result of her project to write a sonnet every day for a year. Each piece is titled with the date it was composed (and, in some cases, the date it was rev…

By Isabel Galleymore

Paintscapes

  Maggi Hambling: Edge, Marlborough Fine Art, London, 1 March - 13 April 2017 One of this spring’s most rewarding exhibitions was Edge by Maggi Hambling at Marlborough Fine Art in London’s Albemarle Street (1 March - 13 April). Hambling (born 1945) is painting at the top of her form, and this is probably her finest solo show yet. Consisting of new oil paintings and painted bronze scul…

By Andrew Lambirth

The Sheer Fun of Power

  Odessa Stories, Isaac Babel, translated by Boris Dralyuk, Pushkin Press, October 2016, pp. 224, £12.00 (paperback) ‘Babel speaks in one voice about the stars and the clap’ - Viktor Shklovskii Like most memorable film actors, Jack Nicholson can be easy to impersonate. The grin, the knowing, seedy, lustful look. The quiet, smoke-damaged voice. The propensity to sudden violence. An…

By Andre van Loon

In A Raw State

Crude, Sally O’Reilly, Eros Press, October 2016, £12.00 (paperback) There are no talking telescreens or robot slaves in the fictive world of Sally O’Reilly’s Crude; it is not so much a dystopia as an oddball parallel universe, in which the comings and goings of academics are reported in tabloid newspapers and their recherché disputes are practically matters of state. The setting is a country …

By Houman Barekat

Hardwrought Works

War Music, Christopher Logue, Faber, 2015, edited by Christopher Reid, 341pp £20 (hardback) Spills, Angela Leighton, Carcanet, 2016, 183pp, £12.99 (paperback)   Homer’s Iliad has been adored – not too strong a word – for over two thousand years. English readers have thrilled in previous centuries to translations by Chapman and Pope. One of our greatest living poets, Alice Oswald, r…

By Claire Crowther