In the latest issue:

An Ordinary Woman

Alan Bennett

Anglo-America Loses its Grip

Pankaj Mishra

Short Cuts: John Bolton’s Unwitting Usefulness

Mattathias Schwartz

Smells of Hell

Keith Thomas

Mrs Oliphant

Tom Crewe

Tippett’s Knack

Philip Clark

At Tate Modern: Steve McQueen

Colin Grant

Catherine Lacey

Nicole Flattery

Churchill’s Cook

Rosemary Hill

The ‘Batrachomyomachia’

Ange Mlinko

On Dorothea Lange

Joanna Biggs

Paid to Race

Jon Day

Poem: ‘Traveller’s Tales: Chapter 90’

August Kleinzahler

The Soho Alphabet

Andrew O’Hagan

Old Tunes

Stephen Sedley

Victor Serge’s Defective Bolshevism

Tariq Ali

The Murdrous Machiavel

Erin Maglaque

Diary: Insane after coronavirus?

Patricia Lockwood

Father and SonRaymond Friel
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Unbearably buoyant the night before
My return to Blairs, I’d be brought back down
To earth by Dad’s Polonius routine.
He’d been there in the black and white Forties,
And had to leave, he said, only because ...

Now, in the grey-skied secular Nineties,
Home with a girlfriend who’s not a Catholic,
I psych myself for one of our wee talks.
A curt ‘she’s lovely,’ though, is not the fierce
Sectarian wrangle I’d predicted.

Thin-armed in his vest, fishing a tea-bag
Out of a garish SCOTTISH POWER mug,
He urns to theology ... the garden
He’s pottered in since the leaden handshake.
‘It’s the only chance I get,’ he mock pleads.

I’m beat but listen, behind the big sighs
I always did; deep down, like him,
A believer in the examined life; and God knows
He’s put the hours in: steeling himself
For the strange revelations of the king.

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