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In Quarantine

Erin Maglaque

Après Brexit

Ferdinand Mount

Short Cuts: Springtime for Donald

David Bromwich

Meetings with their Gods

Claire Hall

‘Generation Left’

William Davies

At the North Miami Museum: Alice Paalen Rahon

Mary Ann Caws

Buchan’s Banter

Christopher Tayler

‘American Dirt’

Christian Lorentzen

Fiction and the Age of Lies

Colin Burrow

In Lahore

Tariq Ali


James Lasdun

Rereading Bowen

Tessa Hadley

At the Corner House

Rosemary Hill

William Gibson

Thomas Jones

Poem: ‘Murph & Me’

August Kleinzahler

The Stud File

Kevin Brazil

John Boorman’s Quiet Ending

David Thomson

In Shanghai: The West Bund Museum

John-Paul Stonard

Diary: The Deborah Orr I Knew

Jenny Turner


Days of German

St Francis didn’t speak German
to the robins he fed, nor did Scott
as he trudged through the snow,
but I did as I crossed
the border to Alsace-Lorraine
all that winter of ‘77,
to dine on choucroute, stock up
on wine – bootfuls of it –
and bring back ripe munster
to stink out the shared fridge
on that final 13th floor
of the Studenten Wohnheim,
from whose balcony we saw
far into France, right to the Vosges,
and closer, just beneath us,
the affair being conducted
in the allotments (we rented
the binoculars to students
from other floors), and where,
in July ‘78,
after the goodbye party
high in the Black Forest,
on the eve of a trip to Italy,
I announced I wasn’t going
because I’d dreamed twice
we’d driven off a cliff,
straight into the Adriatic,
and my friend, to my surprise,
hugged me, saying
she’d had the same dream –
and where the first room I was offered
had been a recent suicide’s.


A UFO landed in Ireland in ‘54,
in Donegal, in my back garden.
At the controls was my grandfather,
and not wanting his craft to be seen,
he had a house built around it,
or he added bricks to the turfhouse
till his spaceship had a coat
and no earthly visitor could guess
that alien splendour was there.
I was two when it landed
but I can just about remember.
I can hear the noise it made –
a humming that scared me,
as if it might take off again,
scattering bricks everywhere,
taking my grandfather away,
but he walked into the house
and switched the lights on –
no need for paraffin and matches,
just a bulb hanging there
like our own small moon,
and this was repeated in every room,
and a copper kettle boiled
away from the fire,
and my grandfather took me
out to the turfhouse
to see the thing being fed,
but I closed my eyes
stuck my fingers in my ears,
and cried.

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