In the latest issue:

Botanic Macaroni

Steven Shapin

What made the Vikings tick?

Tom Shippey

In the Lab

Rupert Beale

Will there be a Brexit deal?

Anand Menon

Short Cuts: Under New Management

Rory Scothorne

Out-Tissoted

Bridget Alsdorf

Sarah Moss

Blake Morrison

Poem: ‘Country Music’

Ange Mlinko

On the Trail of Garibaldi

Tim Parks

Art Lessons

Peter Campbell

You’ll like it when you get there

Tom Crewe

Early Kermode

Stefan Collini

‘The Vanishing Half’

Joanna Biggs

At the Movies: ‘The Truth’

Michael Wood

The Suitcase: Part Two

Frances Stonor Saunders

Poem: ‘Siri U’

Jorie Graham

Diary: Getting into Esports

John Lanchester

No Man’s LandJames Greene
Close
Close

At the seaside dazed by the sun
And its tremendous symphony,
Strangers are friends. Families
Under the cliffs uncover navels,
Amorous bumps, far-fetched clefts;
And the kids squeal with terror,
Their ball kidnapped by a wave.

If only at the graveside we could
Ungrit our teeth, weeping buckets,
Our family might feel
Less estranged: drunk on grief
And memories of a great-aunt
And her long black bathing-costume;
Not this cocktail-party chat.

In previous centuries, in church,
Composers publicly sobbed:
Domine refugium! And Nelson,
On shore, could weep.
I’m scared of my relations.
I might as well be on a beach,

Asleep, an overpowered
Sand-shrouded corpse too stuck
To run for the sea, to be released
From a dream of immurement
And pyramids, crying earthy tears
At imagined burials. It’s my funeral.

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