In the latest issue:

Boris Johnson’s First Year

Ferdinand Mount

Short Cuts: In the Bunker

Thomas Jones

Theban Power

James Romm

What can the WHO do?

James Meek

At the Type Archive

Alice Spawls

Where the Poor Lived

Alison Light

At the Movies: ‘Da 5 Bloods’

Michael Wood

Cultural Pillaging

Neal Ascherson

Jenny Offill

Adam Mars-Jones

Shakespeare v. the English

Michael Dobson

Poem: ‘Now Is the Cool of the Day’

Maureen N. McLane


David Trotter

Consider the Hare

Katherine Rundell

How Should I Refer to You?

Amia Srinivasan

Poem: ‘Field Crickets (Gryllus campestris)’

Fiona Benson

Diary: In Mali

Rahmane Idrissa

Two PoemsDavid Craig

Parallel Texts

Under each leaflet of a bracken frond
The spores are as neatly herring-boned
As filaments in a moth’s antenna
Or vanes on a pigeon’s quill.

I wrote these images on a bramble leaf.
The ink dried slowly, glistening in relief,
Black juice on chlorophyll.
I could have gone on writing
But the green page was full.


A seed on a parachute lingers in air,
White node of spun-glass fibres
Nearly too slight to fall.
In the midst of invisible light
It is fleeting and small
As a sun-struck second of time.

A sudden bird-arrow splits it,
Brushes it sideways, downwards, out of my sight.
Was it swallow or swift,
That fleet-winged dark air-cutter quick as a thought?
The first bird or the last
To empty our summer of their flight?

I will remember them both
Glimpsed at the crossing of their songlines,
The taut wings and the loitering seed,
The streamlined purpose plumed with grace
And the least occupant of space,
The strong-willed migrant and the exquisite weed.

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