In the latest issue:

Democracy? No thanks

Eric Foner

The Bournemouth Set

Andrew O’Hagan

Short Cuts: How to Block Spike

Rupert Beale

Poem: ‘Lark’

Anne Carson

Mussolini’s Unrealism

Edward Luttwak

Characteristically Spenderish

Seamus Perry

Waiting for Valéry

Michael Wood

Bilingualism

Michael Hofmann

The Case for a Supreme Court

Stephen Sedley

A Great Wall to Batter Down

Adom Getachew

At Las Pozas: Edward James’s Sculpture Garden

Mike Jay

He’s Humbert, I’m Dolores

Emily Witt

Archigram’s Ghost

Jonathan Meades

‘Love at Last Sight’

Chloë Daniel

Instapoetry

Clare Bucknell

Scotland’s Dreaming

Rory Scothorne

Diary: In Guy Vaes’s Footsteps

Iain Sinclair

Still LifeMichael Hofmann
Close
Close

A sort of overgrown phial,
opaque blown glass of the sort
we once saw them making at Murano,
whitish – with blue? with yellow?

And sticking out of it
that odd trouvaille, a dried yard
of was it hogweed, Schweinekraut,
Schweinswurzel, something swinish about it,

some hollow dill-like plant
withered to articulate straw
that my father half-inched,
like a spindly triffid on the steel table.

It was an artistic endeavour really,
a momentary juxtaposition
that gathered dust, languishing
like umbrella ribs in an elephant’s foot,

in saecula saeculorum.
As it grew dark, he drew the curtains,
so as not to be seen, or not to show
how much he couldn’t see.

There was a drawn atmosphere
as in Buñuel or La Grande Bouffe,
like being locked up overnight
in an impoverished modern art museum

– as it were, Beuys in Buffalo –

and we slumped like astronauts
in the too-low leather seats
while he peeled and chopped fruit
and handed it around.

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