In the latest issue:

Boris Johnson’s First Year

Ferdinand Mount

Short Cuts: In the Bunker

Thomas Jones

Theban Power

James Romm

What can the WHO do?

James Meek

At the Type Archive

Alice Spawls

Where the Poor Lived

Alison Light

At the Movies: ‘Da 5 Bloods’

Michael Wood

Cultural Pillaging

Neal Ascherson

Jenny Offill

Adam Mars-Jones

Shakespeare v. the English

Michael Dobson

Poem: ‘Now Is the Cool of the Day’

Maureen N. McLane


David Trotter

Consider the Hare

Katherine Rundell

How Should I Refer to You?

Amia Srinivasan

Poem: ‘Field Crickets (Gryllus campestris)’

Fiona Benson

Diary: In Mali

Rahmane Idrissa


        Yes, another
poem about flowers and kids. Our son
thinks this one is a ball,
or full of balls: like jesters’ caps with bells,
one for each stem, or old pawnbrokers’ signs,
the lot next door in rainy April weather
dangles, and then in sunlight lifts, what he
believes he ought to pluck and grasp and throw,

if we would let him. Little does he know
how each bud, given cues
from symbiotic ants, will open up
pink surface after surface, flagrant scraps
of incandescent fabric coming loose
like grown-ups’ lives or last month’s local news,
like promises, or generosity,
or overuse. So soon it isn’t fair,

what he could take in his small fist all spring
and shake in anger when we told him no –
that is, don’t touch them – nods, and will agree
to share its colours: still unravelling,
curled up against its core,
each of the heavy flowers starts to be
a casualty of gravity, so low
it looks ashamed, as if the earth expected more.

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