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In Quarantine

Erin Maglaque

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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

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In Lahore

Tariq Ali

GOD HATES YOUR FEELINGS

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At the Corner House

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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

The Old Man and E.A.PEdwin Morgan
Close
Close

He is not sleeping, though you might think so.
His eyes are half shut against the light.
‘An old man’s nap.’ They smile, walk softly on.
He is smiling too, but mentally.
Without a twitch, he is on dragonback
above Edgarallanwood – what’s in a name –
getting ready to rein in on the low moon.
It was a certain very dark exhilaration
played invisibly along his lips,
or a dark pride in riding such a beast
perched among its spikes and rolling folds
as it swished through cypresses, topped them,
kicked them, flicked them with a thundery tail
out below back down into men and
all that, last dog-walk of the day, hurrying,
whistle and whoop through Edgarallanwood.

He is full of questions, this man who is not sleeping.
Ever since the Fall of the House of Answer –
what’s in a name – he has kept a brace
of dragons, dangling like markers in a diary,
whiffling at him as if they had the speech
of old times; he listens, hard, hard,
asks them in all the languages he knows
if there was a day, if there could have been a day,
if there was ever a night or a day
when they conversed with human kind, guarded
on terms of equality with ungreedy heroes
the well-locked unimaginable treasuries
laid up from times still older, and what,
oh what would those times have been like, he asks.
The dragon’s ear is dumb; it blinks; it hits
the moon, its wings are white with dust, the ages
dissolve in airless silence. Go on, bark,
last dog of evening, open the man’s eyes.
‘Had a good nap?’ He smiles. ‘Better than that:
I sprang a tale of mystery and imagination.’

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