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


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

A Bowl of Chinese FireworksBrad Leithauser

afternoon light,
and such
a pretty touch –
the way the sun, slow-
wheeling down the wall
in a fall of white on white,
clear into gold explodes
just upon reaching the bowl
of elaborate, illicit fireworks
reserved for this evening’s party.

until the night
has grown
into its own
at last, drinks downed,
dinner in all its courses done,
and the guests, trailing bright
inquisitive laughter, led
out onto the black lawn,
will the show start, but already now,
at the sun’s touch, it’s as if a new

has come, a fuse
to sizzle. One
by one, the sun picks out
the big bowl’s contents: a long-
tailed dragon first, from whose
gaping leer a leaping tongue
of parti-coloured flame’s to spring;
next, a paisley-papered Roman
candle; then a sort of bouquet,

by rubber band,
of blue-
and-yellow two-
stage rockets; and a yacht, whose
maiden voyage (tonight, in a hose-
filled pail) will raise a grand
canopy of stars from the slim pole of its
smokestack. If, just now, a trace
of pink, of perishable rose, robs some
burnish from the day, as if to say,

this sun-set scene
must shift,
its glories drift
off elsewhere – in the meanwhile,
anyway, our dragon sits in style
atop a glowing treasure-stack,
and with the cool, expansive self-
possession of his kind,
grins extravagantly back
at the blaze that enriches him.

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