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

The Mirage

Like a cartoon of a lost traveller in the desert,
Fallen on his knees and dying of thirst,
Who sees a quiet pond in the distance
Surrounded by tall palm trees,
Once on a train approaching Chicago,
I saw a snow-peaked mountain
I knew perfectly well was not there,
And yet I stared, gradually beginning
To make out one high sunlit meadow,
When the black smoke from the mills
Hid the sheep grazing from my sight.

Wild Flowers

There were wild flowers on the road to hell.
The wind blew and the flowers
Danced in the ditches, alone or in pairs,
In that cheerful way flowers have.
You had to be there to see them
As well as the looming guard towers.

I wasn’t. Still, one hot summer afternoon
As I lay resting, their bright colours came to me
And that dusty road and that long ditch
Where the wind played with them
Carrying their scent past the barbed wire,
Or so I thought, too terrified to imagine the rest.

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