Monolith (2001)

Lavinia Greenlaw

It was the fact of what happened.
It stood before us like a locked dimension.


We gathered numbers, rehearsed names,
stored a million images.


Still the door would not open.
There was no door.


It stood before us.


Neither beginning nor ending,
it was the new – blank, immoveable.



Lavinia Greenlaw was born in London, where she has lived for most of her life. Her poetry includes The Casual Perfect and Minsk. She has also published novels and two works of non-fiction: The Importance of Music to Girls and Questions of Travel: William Morris in Iceland. Her next book of poetry, A Double Sorrow: Troilus and Criseyde, will be published by Faber in March 2014.  

Her interest in image-making and the problems of perception, both central to Troilus and Criseyde, led to her studying seventeenth-century Dutch art at the Courtauld Institute and becoming the first artist-in-residence at the Science Museum.


While government watches you, who watches the government?