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

Tativille

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

Two PoemsCharles Simic
Close
Close

Carrying On like a Crow

Are you authorised to speak
For these trees without leaves?
Are you able to explain
What the wind intends to do
With a man’s shirt and a woman’s nightgown
Left on the laundry line?
What do you know about dark clouds?
Ponds full of fallen leaves?
Old model cars rusting in a driveway?
Who gave you permission
To look at the beer can in a ditch?
The white cross by the side of the road?
The swing set in the widow’s yard?
Ask yourself, if words are enough,
Or if you’d be better off
Flapping your wings from tree to tree
And carrying on like a crow?

Softly

Set the knife and fork on your plate,
Here, where it’s always wartime,
It’s prudent to break bread unobserved,
To pour the wine out of the bottle
Watching its shadow leap on the wall.

Dusk, how your birds worry me.
I can hear them rejoicing in the trees
Oblivious of the trouble ahead.
The spider plants are more discreet
And so are your bare feet under the table.

Bloody flags flying at sunset.
Some general leading another army into the night
While you stir the thick honey
Into a dish of young walnuts,
And I wait my turn to lick the spoon.

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