In the latest issue:

Loathed by Huysmans

Julian Barnes

Too early or too late?

David Runciman

Short Cuts: Five Victorian Marriages

Tom Crewe

Society as a Broadband Network

William Davies

Indefinite Lent

Thomas Jones

In 1348

James Meek

The House of York

John Guy

At the Movies: Pasolini’s ‘Teorema’

Michael Wood

Secrets are like sex

Neal Ascherson

Poem: ‘The Bannisters’

Paul Muldoon

Clarice Lispector

Rivka Galchen

Marius Petipa

Simon Morrison

At the Foundling Museum: ‘Portraying Pregnancy’

Joanne O’Leary

Caroline Gordon v. Flannery O’Connor

Rupert Thomson


Joe Dunthorne

Poem: ‘The Reach of the Sea’

Maureen N. McLane

Diary: Where water used to be

Rosa Lyster

How to set up an ICU

Lana Spawls

Hanging FireRobin Robertson

The impatience for summer
is desire: ritual, imbedded
hard as a hinge
in the earth’s mesh.
From the papery bulb,
the spurred, flesh-green horn
pushes, straining for air;
flexes its distended,
perfect, cleft muscle
out and up through the crust.

Then the deeper sleep of August,
ninety degrees of hanging fire:
the yellow lawns, the blighted
flowerless trees, the malformed leaves
sticky with sarcoma; the only sound
the hot, rhythmic tick of tarmac.
The pigeon splays
and struts after his blushing bride,
drags his thickening tail
behind him through the dust

Once it comes
we want it over;
the need for heat
replaced by the anxiety for winter:
rain to wash it all away,
and frosts to kill it back –
to start again next spring
with that familiar pulse,
that stirring of old ground:
that ache we think is lust.

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