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

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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