In the latest issue:

Robespierre’s Chamber Pot

Julian Barnes

Too early or too late?

David Runciman

Short Cuts: Five Victorian Marriages

Tom Crewe

Society as a Broadband Network

William Davies

Fifteen days from now

Thomas Jones

In 1348

James Meek

The Yorkists

John Guy

At the Movies: Pasolini’s ‘Teorema’

Michael Wood

Whitehall Spookery

Neal Ascherson

Poem: ‘The Bannisters’

Paul Muldoon

Clarice Lispector

Rivka Galchen

Marius Petipa

Simon Morrison

At the Foundling Museum: ‘Portraying Pregnancy’

Joanne O’Leary

Gordon v. O’Connor

Rupert Thomson

Revism

Joe Dunthorne

Poem: ‘The Reach of the Sea’

Maureen N. McLane

Diary: Where water used to be

Rosa Lyster

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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