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An Ordinary Woman

Alan Bennett

Anglo-America Loses its Grip

Pankaj Mishra

Short Cuts: John Bolton’s Unwitting Usefulness

Mattathias Schwartz

Smells of Hell

Keith Thomas

Mrs Oliphant

Tom Crewe

Tippett’s Knack

Philip Clark

At Tate Modern: Steve McQueen

Colin Grant

Catherine Lacey

Nicole Flattery

Churchill’s Cook

Rosemary Hill

The ‘Batrachomyomachia’

Ange Mlinko

On Dorothea Lange

Joanna Biggs

Paid to Race

Jon Day

Poem: ‘Traveller’s Tales: Chapter 90’

August Kleinzahler

The Soho Alphabet

Andrew O’Hagan

Old Tunes

Stephen Sedley

Victor Serge’s Defective Bolshevism

Tariq Ali

The Murdrous Machiavel

Erin Maglaque

Diary: Insane after coronavirus?

Patricia Lockwood

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Lady’s Smock

Past the odour-of-sanctity primroses
in their tight nests of wrinkle-green
by the well, and the violets,
hardly daring to breathe, on the ditch
above them. On to the wet fields
and the wiry filigree below
the girl’s-dress mauve elegance
of this flower, rooted amid rush-spires,
just come out at the start of a new season.

Farmers Cross

My mother took to farming like a native,
as if she’d not grown up by city light;
she always said the front row in heaven
would be filled exclusively by farmers.

She’d married into it. Then, as if things
were not bad enough, three days after he died
that cold March Sunday, a cheque he’d dated
on the day came back to us, explaining

‘Not honoured: signatory deceased.’
His subscription to the Irish Farmers’ Journal.
But he hated farming: every uphill step
on the black hill where he’d been born and bred.

So she flew out for good and back to England,
from newly opened Cork airport, where the lights
fought a losing battle with the fog
at Farmers Cross. ‘Why on earth’, everyone

was asking, ‘build it on a hill? Why not keep
to lower ground by the city? Wasn’t it plain
to God it couldn’t prosper there? That they’d
always said it was a hard farm to work.’

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