In the latest issue:

In Quarantine

Erin Maglaque

Après Brexit

Ferdinand Mount

Short Cuts: Springtime for Donald

David Bromwich

Meetings with their Gods

Claire Hall

‘Generation Left’

William Davies

At the North Miami Museum: Alice Paalen Rahon

Mary Ann Caws

Buchan’s Banter

Christopher Tayler

‘American Dirt’

Christian Lorentzen

Fiction and the Age of Lies

Colin Burrow

In Lahore

Tariq Ali

GOD HATES YOUR FEELINGS

James Lasdun

Rereading Bowen

Tessa Hadley

At the Corner House

Rosemary Hill

William Gibson

Thomas Jones

Poem: ‘Murph & Me’

August Kleinzahler

The Stud File

Kevin Brazil

John Boorman’s Quiet Ending

David Thomson

In Shanghai: The West Bund Museum

John-Paul Stonard

Diary: The Deborah Orr I Knew

Jenny Turner

The Word from Wuhan

Wang Xiuying

DesiderataHubert Moore
Close
Close

‘A firm light quick step’
– after lunch, amongst casualties –
‘and a steady quick hand:
these are the desiderata.’

Night-light under the alders.
In the dark grass by the river
we lie low licking our wounds,
watching the English nurse

move briskly about the ward
– the dormobiles, the caravans,
and the soft clockwork
of (mostly French) conversation.

Back at her tent she chooses
not romance or a thriller
but ‘Notes’, by Florence Nightingale:
‘What Nursing is and what it is not.’

Perhaps we come in her book?
– the German father’s hip,
our Netherlander neighbours’
high-grade mongol daughter,

and man after man
– our sunbeds stretched in the shade,
our women visiting –
glancing up at the quick

step through the hospital,
past our temperature-charts,
our eyes murmuring illnesses
– what we have, what we have not –

our lips discovering
one shared word for what’s lovely,
what’s needed: O
Desiderata.

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