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The Word from Wuhan

Wang Xiuying

‘The Man in the Red Coat’

Luc Sante

Is it OK to have a child?

Meehan Crist

Short Cuts: Ubu Unchained

August Kleinzahler

Bury that bastard

Nicole Flattery

Surplus Sons

Clare Bucknell

Oliver Lee Jackson

Adam Shatz

The Servant Problem

Alison Light

Poem: ‘1 x 30’

Anne Carson

The Old Bailey

Francis FitzGibbon

Jiggers, Rods and Barleycorns

James Vincent

More Marple than Poirot

J. Robert Lennon

On Rachael Allen

Matthew Bevis

Like a Ball of Fire

Andrew Cockburn

The Staffordshire Hoard

Tom Shippey

Blessed Isles

Mary Wellesley

At the Movies: ‘Jojo Rabbit’ and ‘A Hidden Life’

Michael Wood

Redeeming Winnie

Heribert Adam

Diary: A Friendly Fighting Force

Nick McDonell

TwitchersAdam Thorpe
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For every booming bittern there are ten,
for every cliff-stacked gannet mass

there is at least one with his clingfilmed
lunch-pack, wringing his socks on St Kilda.

This is surety of sorts. That the index finger
will go on twitching till the loch

gives up its greylag, the moor its merlin,
that even the chough has its hangers-on

grim-jawed on outcrops where the breakers’ sting
assures Him that all the aeons’ messy fuss

holds some of them in thrall, despite the mockery.
When the Trumpets sound, drowning the guillemots,

when the souls rise like a billion fulmars
discarding behind them the stink of cerements,

when even the dotterel has shrilled its last
over the wrathful tussocks of Beinn Bhreac Mhor

He’ll be there with his binoculars and notebook
spotting them: the Chosen, the ones who bothered,

the twits who noted His miraculous exactitude
all day in everything He could throw at them.

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