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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

Fifteen days from now

Thomas Jones

In 1348

James Meek

The Yorkists

John Guy

At the Movies: Pasolini’s ‘Teorema’

Michael Wood

Whitehall Spookery

Neal Ascherson

Poem: ‘The Bannisters’

Paul Muldoon

Clarice Lispector

Rivka Galchen

Marius Petipa

Simon Morrison

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

Close
Close

Sand

Water muscling to shore at twilight,
Muscling over her ribs, the water so warm
For September. Thomas Paine said,
We just couldn’t stay boys
(regarding the colonists)
Or something to that effect.
Ladybugs gather, covering a pear,
Gulls screech about the deserted lighthouse.
How agreeable to discover
Someone loves you, or even later,
That you’ve become a fixture
In someone’s stable of influences.
You adjust your sunglasses and sip
Your merlot – a robust season
Of potatoes and cod, when generosity
Was more than a glimmer of an inn’s lights.
All this time without a plan or reliable income.
She drives like Barney Oldfield
Says her dad, arm on my shoulder,
Approaching dust on the beach track.
Just when I thought I was strongest
And most personable

Cottage in the Country

With tristful care
Stepping here, stepping there
How all the good measures
Leave the months as blank as detours –
As bored as I was, spying
From my room across the pasture
To hers with binoculars.
Her husband so aerodynamic
As we used to say. And she so sensitive?
I’d been hoping instead
For something like the rococo nude
Or the woman standing at her basin.
Short of work and short of ideas,
Omissible. Though I may have been
Projecting, as my sister implied.
When what one sets out to do gets replaced,
Devolved amongst cicadas, stray peeps
Of hummingbirds. Sand, dust and my bootprints –
At night a porous rain that regrooms
The country lane. The horse-owners
Nodding into cell phones. An idling plane.
She pulls at her bra straps. Dried sweat
And other imperfections. Disgusting, she tells
Herself. I turn away too. Though my notes
Indicate otherwise

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