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Robespierre’s Chamber Pot

Julian Barnes

Too early or too late?

David Runciman

Short Cuts: Five Victorian Marriages

Tom Crewe

Society as a Broadband Network

William Davies

Fifteen days from now

Thomas Jones

In 1348

James Meek

The Yorkists

John Guy

At the Movies: Pasolini’s ‘Teorema’

Michael Wood

Whitehall Spookery

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Poem: ‘The Bannisters’

Paul Muldoon

Clarice Lispector

Rivka Galchen

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Simon Morrison

At the Foundling Museum: ‘Portraying Pregnancy’

Joanne O’Leary

Gordon v. O’Connor

Rupert Thomson

Revism

Joe Dunthorne

Poem: ‘The Reach of the Sea’

Maureen N. McLane

Diary: Where water used to be

Rosa Lyster

Two PoemsBilly Collins
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You Said You Would Write

Two strong coffees
and an hour of unfocused staring,

and now the hour rolls round
to put on some clothes

and then to take them off again
and return to bed.

Later, it will be time
to stride down the driveway

and wait by the iron mailbox
on its solid wooden post

for the truck to round
the corner – red, white and blue.

Time even, if he is late,
to hop up and straddle

this dark metal postal horse
by the side of the road,

time to lean forward,
jockey of romance

in my imaginary silks –
a red and black hexagon –

full of hope, whip in hand,
mad for the stamp, the blue curve of your pen.

Looking Forward

Whenever I stare into the future,
the low, blue hills of the future,
shading my eyes with one hand,

I no longer see a city of opals
with a sunny river running through it
or a dark city of coal and gutters.

Nor do I see children
donning their apocalyptic goggles
and hiding in doorways.

All I see is me attending your burial
or you attending mine,
depending on who gets to go first.

There is a light rain.
A figure under an umbrella
is reading from a thick book with a black cover.

And a passing cemetery worker
has cut the engine to his backhoe
and is taking a drink from a bottle of water.

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