In the latest issue:

An Ordinary Woman

Alan Bennett

Anglo-America Loses its Grip

Pankaj Mishra

Short Cuts: John Bolton’s Unwitting Usefulness

Mattathias Schwartz

Smells of Hell

Keith Thomas

Mrs Oliphant

Tom Crewe

Tippett’s Knack

Philip Clark

At Tate Modern: Steve McQueen

Colin Grant

Catherine Lacey

Nicole Flattery

Churchill’s Cook

Rosemary Hill

The ‘Batrachomyomachia’

Ange Mlinko

On Dorothea Lange

Joanna Biggs

Paid to Race

Jon Day

Poem: ‘Traveller’s Tales: Chapter 90’

August Kleinzahler

The Soho Alphabet

Andrew O’Hagan

Old Tunes

Stephen Sedley

Victor Serge’s Defective Bolshevism

Tariq Ali

The Murdrous Machiavel

Erin Maglaque

Diary: Insane after coronavirus?

Patricia Lockwood

Out of SeasonAnnemarie Austin

This is no country for young women –
the old on one another’s arms, ice in the air,
etcetera ...

Cheap-rate, off-peak, out-of-season,
they come in charabancs
– coaches too new a term –
and debouch on the sea front,
chorused by snapping, masticating wind,
savoured with sauce of rain.

The town half-wakes for them:
one putting-green, an ice-cream stall,
flurry of drab cafés; while all around
painters on ladder stalks garnish façades
for other, richer, younger clients,
coming later.

Monotony of the scene:
its measured pace and film of mackintoshes
– beige or grey (the sky the same);
no red tee-shirt, no yellow hair,
radio singing on a swung wrist-strap,
no oiled and sapid motorbike.

The sea bares icy teeth for them,
sun is too low and thin to warm,
air on the lips is bitter in its salt;
tastes styled for summer
wither on the winter tongue
till charabancs return.

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