In the latest issue:

The American Virus

Eliot Weinberger

The Home Life of Inspector Maigret

John Lanchester

Story: ‘Have a Seat in the Big Black Chair’

Diane Williams

The Last Whale

Colin Burrow

In Beijing

Long Ling

Princess Margaret and Lady Anne

Rosemary Hill

At the Movies: ‘Arkansas’

Michael Wood

Ruin it your own way

Susan Pedersen

At Home

Jane Miller

The Ottoman Conundrum

Helen Pfeifer

Poem: ‘Muntjac’

Blake Morrison

Piketty’s Revolution

Geoff Mann

Short Cuts: In Tripoli

Jérôme Tubiana

Coetzee Makes a Leap

Christopher Tayler

At Auckland Castle: Francisco de Zurbarán

Nicola Jennings

Drain the Swamps

Steven Shapin

Diary: In the Isolation Room

Nicholas Spice

The LoaningSeamus Heaney
Close
Close

As I went down the loaning to the fields
the wind shifting in the hedge
was like an old one’s whistling speech.
I knew then I was in the limbo of lost words.

They had flown there from outhouses and crossroads,
from under rotten carts and churchyard walls.
I saw them streaming out of birch-white throats
to nest a while in those old places, then
on a day close as a stranger’s breath
rising in smoky crowds on the summer sky
to settle in the uvulae of mossed stones
and the soft lungs of the hawthorn.

I knew then why from the beginning
the loaning breathed upon me
though now each hole in the hedge was blowing cold
as I went stooped and shivering beneath
the spit blood of a few last haws and rose-hips.

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