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

The Word from Wuhan

Wang Xiuying

Two PoemsVicki Feaver

Crab Apple Jelly

Every year you said it wasn’t worth the trouble –
you’d better things to do with your time –
and it made you furious when the jars
were sold at the church fête
for less than the cost of the sugar.

And every year you drove into the lanes
around Calverton to search
for the wild trees whose apples
looked as red and as sweet as cherries,
and tasted sharper than gooseberries.

You cooked them in the wide copper pan
grandma brought with her from Wigan,
smashing them against the sides
with a long wooden spoon to split
the skins, straining the pulp

through an old muslin nappy.
It hung for days, tied with a string
to the kitchen steps, dripping
into a bowl on the floor –
brown-stained, horrible,

a head in a bag, a pouch
of sourness, of all that went wrong
in that house of women. The last drops
you wrung out with your hands;
then, closing doors and windows

to shut out the clamouring wasps,
you boiled up the juice with sugar,
dribbling the syrup onto a cold plate
until it set to a glaze,
filling the heated jars.

When they were cool
you held one up to the light
to see if the jelly had cleared.
Oh Mummy, it was as clear and shining
as stained glass and the colour of fire.

Dawlish, 1949

In the kitchen, Aunt Inge,
who in the war was accused
of hanging nappies on the line
to send messages to the Germans
and who, the first Christmas

in Devon, cut and bundled
and sent up to London
enough mistletoe and holly
to almost pay for this house
with its crumbling stone terrace

overlooking the sea – some people
always land on their feet! –
stands with two bantams
squawking and fluttering
in her podgy red hands.

I am crying. It’s the heat
and excitement, mother says,
dabbing cotton wool soaked
in cold pink calamine lotion
onto my burning back.

On the terrace,
the little cousin is calling:
Schmetterling! Schmetterling!
‘It’s not! It’s not!’ I scream.
‘It’s a butterfly!’

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