In the latest issue:

The Politics of Like and Dislike

William Davies

The Shrine

Alan Bennett

After the Shock

Adam Tooze

Punishment by Pressing

Hazel V. Carby

The Suitcase

Frances Stonor Saunders

Short Cuts: Thanington Without

Patrick Cockburn

The Lessons of Reconstruction

Randall Kennedy

Company-States

Linda Colley

Eva Hesse

Anne Wagner

Parachuted into France

Neal Ascherson

The Age of Sail

N.A.M. Rodger

Poem: ‘Near Gleann nam Fiadh’

Robin Robertson

‘You People’

Clare Bucknell

What Didn’t Happen

Michael Wood

Forster in Cambridge

Richard Shone

Diary: In Ashgabat

James Lomax

A New CountryHugo Williams
Close
Close

Do you drop things? Do you trip
and hurl cups of tea ahead of you,
going upstairs? Do your possessions
have a life of their own
in which they dither idiotically
on your fingertips, then make a sudden leap?

In a flash they find their new home
in a dark corner of your room,
a distant country.
Your face turns red
and your head swells up like a balloon
as you make yourself bow down.

You see your own hand,
like someone else’s hand,
two quivering fingers stretched out
to retrieve some random coin or pen,
before dropping it again
and kicking it further out of reach.

Do you have a grabber yet?
Or do you leave things where they are
in a tideline of debris
which crunches underfoot?
Do you shuffle along like that
in order to grind it into the carpet?

It seems to come naturally to you,
demonstrating your new talent
for acting as if you were drunk,
joke hair on top, collapsible legs,
that hilarious expression of dismay
as you start to fall.

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