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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

Indefinite Lent

Thomas Jones

In 1348

James Meek

The House of York

John Guy

At the Movies: Pasolini’s ‘Teorema’

Michael Wood

Secrets are like sex

Neal Ascherson

Poem: ‘The Bannisters’

Paul Muldoon

Clarice Lispector

Rivka Galchen

Marius Petipa

Simon Morrison

At the Foundling Museum: ‘Portraying Pregnancy’

Joanne O’Leary

Caroline Gordon v. Flannery O’Connor

Rupert Thomson

Revism

Joe Dunthorne

Poem: ‘The Reach of the Sea’

Maureen N. McLane

Diary: Where water used to be

Rosa Lyster

How to set up an ICU

Lana Spawls

Close
Close

Others look down on me. As well they might.
I look down on myself from a great height:
see the tramp’s straggly hair turned white

– the off-white of effluent-polluted sea-foam –
the bony shoulders, the incipient bald dome
and black wings sprouting that will fly me home.

for Rachel Owen

1.

I keep forgetting if this is
Lucerne or Geneva, Geneva or Lucerne.
But there’s a lake almost too close
like a slab of black marble.
Every hour a ferry slides over and erases
its lucid inscriptions.

2.

In Tarragona you can swim a few strides
from the port road – it looks clean enough
to drown in, but it takes a bloody cliff
to reach the Rambla Vella and the Roman ruins.
I opt for a dip in the drink.
Why scale the heights when you can fight the waves?

3.

Free passage to Cagliari, that’s if
I can speak about the First World War
poets. I speak too much. Break of day,
a trench for sewage pipes is being dug
outside the hotel window. Hard hats are
placidly conferring. A Phoenecian frigate in the port.

4.

The interminable cave through the Karst
– the White War fought in the near distance –
is home to the blind salamander and the devil bat.
They say Dante in exile visited and first
dreamed up hell down here – they forget
he spent his youth in Florence.

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