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The Word from Wuhan

Wang Xiuying

‘The Man in the Red Coat’

Luc Sante

Is it OK to have a child?

Meehan Crist

Short Cuts: Ubu Unchained

August Kleinzahler

Bury that bastard

Nicole Flattery

Surplus Sons

Clare Bucknell

Oliver Lee Jackson

Adam Shatz

The Servant Problem

Alison Light

Poem: ‘1 x 30’

Anne Carson

The Old Bailey

Francis FitzGibbon

Jiggers, Rods and Barleycorns

James Vincent

More Marple than Poirot

J. Robert Lennon

On Rachael Allen

Matthew Bevis

Like a Ball of Fire

Andrew Cockburn

The Staffordshire Hoard

Tom Shippey

Blessed Isles

Mary Wellesley

At the Movies: ‘Jojo Rabbit’ and ‘A Hidden Life’

Michael Wood

Redeeming Winnie

Heribert Adam

Diary: A Friendly Fighting Force

Nick McDonell

FireguardTony Harrison
Close
Close

The best wood to make chips with for our fire
was from bakehouse boxes Dad brought smeared with lard.
It had a whiplash crack. Its sparks leaped higher.
You had to look sharpish with the fireguard.

Primed with Posts Mam plaited the greased chips
lit with a purple sputter and deep hiss.
More than childhood’s pier-machines or sherbet dips
this fire I learned to lay’s what I most miss,
though my hands got clarted with thick lard and slack
and newsprint from the crumpled Yorkshire Post,
and made the white bread finger-marked and black
when I used the fire I’d lit to make us toast.

Why can’t my memory home in on just that?
Through the griefguard round the glow we all sat near
burst sputterings of polished wood and fat,
then smoke I crane my neck at to watch clear.

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