In the latest issue:

Botanic Macaroni

Steven Shapin

What made the Vikings tick?

Tom Shippey

In the Lab

Rupert Beale

Will there be a Brexit deal?

Anand Menon

Short Cuts: Under New Management

Rory Scothorne

Out-Tissoted

Bridget Alsdorf

Sarah Moss

Blake Morrison

Poem: ‘Country Music’

Ange Mlinko

On the Trail of Garibaldi

Tim Parks

Art Lessons

Peter Campbell

You’ll like it when you get there

Tom Crewe

Early Kermode

Stefan Collini

‘The Vanishing Half’

Joanna Biggs

At the Movies: ‘The Truth’

Michael Wood

The Suitcase: Part Two

Frances Stonor Saunders

Poem: ‘Siri U’

Jorie Graham

Diary: Getting into Esports

John Lanchester

The Golf YearsRaymond Friel
Close
Close

Out on the back nine, beyond the banter,
we’d be stopped on the elevated tees
by a sunset of epic proportions,
or, down in the firth, the fin of a sub –
its black body packed with catastrophe –
heading for its ‘home’ in the Holy Loch.

He was working shifts in Hunterston
and after the long silence of the coast road
came home to the early morning bedlam
of full-cream moustaches and ties in knots,
still wearing the blue ‘badge’ on his lapel
to signal what no human should endure.

After the glass-enclosed, sterile nights
observing the secret life of reactors –
to colleagues a dogged apologist
for the unscientific dogmas of his faith
over coffee cups and books for reference –
the golf course was a paradise of sorts,

with its view across the Firth of Clyde
to the stern assembly of the Trossachs,
the soft carpet rolled out under our feet,
his Nicklaus crouch on the final green.
I lifted the flag up and clear as the ball
read the dips perfectly and rattled home.

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