In the latest issue:

Loathed by Huysmans

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

Neal Ascherson

Poem: ‘The Bannisters’

Paul Muldoon

Clarice Lispector

Rivka Galchen

Marius Petipa

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

Close
Close

There’s been a clearing in the gardens –
lavish sycamores, some holly and beech,
cut down in the dead of night.

And from such absences, local rooks
eye up the far canopies, leafy and windy
like Gaudí. Strung through top tiers

chichi nests appear, one bed apartments,
‘old world style’, far from that ‘young
family thing’, and at two thousand a month

or whatever, in these parts, a steal.
I viewed them and thought ‘I could settle
here’, sea views, no more long commutes

and OK, the shower stall
is jammed up against the kitchen sink,
but that’s how they live in Paris,

and should visitors pose a problem –
my sister for instance coming to stay,
showering three times a day –

I can retreat to the sushi bar next door,
bone up on the folly of space
and watch a weary sun play tricks

with a blank wall. Rooks take
to all this in a gloaming, swirling, settling
and re-settling, as just the usual

quarrelsome racket, until they can
vacate, break for their winter cover
and the marionette theatre of dreams

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