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

Revism

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

Close
Close

The grey-green snake of the Grand Canal
heels itself behind a fleet of hulls
and white marble writes white marble on the face
of the water under the façades
in a fat oily squiggle straight from the tube.
When the tyre-clad flank of the vaporetto thuds
against the belly of the dock, we pilgrims watch
how in her sky-blue suit the blonde conductress
throws an eight around the two
Arsenal-forged cast-iron bollards
and brings the boat’s
stern first and then its prow
into a tame adjacency.
She might have stepped straight out of that
mural I’ve just been to see
where a small local female saint subdues
the scaly basilisk and leads it
still trembling with lust on a length of cord
– it must be silk – across the square and through
the parting crowd – it must be here
where the sea’s edge drapes its hard green lace
on polished stones our feet perceive as waves.

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