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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

Close
Close

The long-beleaguered home team,
black hats and orange piping,
is eliminated on a cool night,
the very end of September,
with the phlox zerspalten by rain,
as Benn wrote,
and giving forth a strange animal smell,
seltsamen Wildgeruchs.

While the neighbouring team
from across the Bay,
the ones with green leggings,
younger and more brazen,
were finished earlier still, after the clamour
attending their mid-summer surge.

Frucht-und Fieberschwellungen
abfallend . . .
Even the strongest
of young arms
tires over a long season.
Tumescences of fruit and fever . . .
Knees give out, just as the parapets
of Troy rear into sight.

What do the sky and gardens know
of such disappointments?
Of the quiet on the street,
life ebbing from barrooms like a yeasty tide?
Go home, everyone go home.
The cupped flame,
the extended sigh of smoke in the shadows
of a hundred doorways.
Go home to your wives, go home.

Why must it always end this way,
every year the same?
It is only we who change, Time
eroding our powers –
des Sommers Narr, Nachplapperer,
summer’s fool, jabberer –
putting to rout our boyish hopes.

And even with the air so sharp
once night has settled in –
vor dir der Schnee, Hochschweigen
when the season’s first hearth fires
mingle their exhalations
with night-blooming vegetation,
snow and silence ahead of you,

the sun next day pours down
with such intent as if it could surpass
what only it might emulate,
its counterfeit betrayed
by the very merest wash of bronze

enveloping the Chinese lantern,
jasmine and flowering lavender
in a memorial glow
while, still, they bloom, thrive, reach
up, upwards, toward the light
and out from amidst the withered stalks and ruin
of what summer has left behind.

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