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Loathed by Huysmans

Julian Barnes

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David Runciman

Short Cuts: Five Victorian Marriages

Tom Crewe

Society as a Broadband Network

William Davies

Fifteen days from now

Thomas Jones

In 1348

James Meek

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Poem: ‘The Bannisters’

Paul Muldoon

Clarice Lispector

Rivka Galchen

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At the Foundling Museum: ‘Portraying Pregnancy’

Joanne O’Leary

Gordon v. O’Connor

Rupert Thomson

Revism

Joe Dunthorne

Poem: ‘The Reach of the Sea’

Maureen N. McLane

Diary: Where water used to be

Rosa Lyster

Two PoemsSusan Wicks
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Wild Bees

At first they come singly, outriders
clinging to a thorn, a blade in my path,
or hovering inches from my cheek,
and then they’re faster, thicker,
a dark whiplash, a moving cylinder
of dark; the whole sky is black.
There’s no way round. I hide my hands,
tighten my small circle of hood,
and go on walking, my eyes sealed shut –
an effigy carved in green wood –
as I tense myself for stings,
listen for flying bodies
to dash themselves against cloth
like rain on canvas – but there’s only breath
vibrating, a seethe of wings
that parts to let me through,
unmarked. There’s not a single bee
caught in my hair or clothes,
though I shake myself. Were they even aware
I was human, stingable? I undo the zip
of my jacket, measure the sunken road
to the hilltop under its murk of cloud.
I sing as I go up.

The One Stone in the Granite Wall

I run my finger over lichen,
the granite’s grey-white bloom,
nubbed yellow, a blush like cheekbone.

This one stone is all gold knobs,
a buried vein of salmon.
Its polished jags are bony.

From deep-webbed fissures
the mortar has bled
blue-green – a slow leaching of copper.

How little we know of stones,
of how the salt breath eats them,
in what configuration.

Just water, and the crystal
cells open like bees’, the sulphates start
to hum, their bone queen sleeping.

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