In the latest issue:

Democracy? No thanks

Eric Foner

The Bournemouth Set

Andrew O’Hagan

Short Cuts: How to Block Spike

Rupert Beale

Poem: ‘Lark’

Anne Carson

Mussolini’s Unrealism

Edward Luttwak

Characteristically Spenderish

Seamus Perry

Waiting for Valéry

Michael Wood

Bilingualism

Michael Hofmann

The Case for a Supreme Court

Stephen Sedley

A Great Wall to Batter Down

Adom Getachew

At Las Pozas: Edward James’s Sculpture Garden

Mike Jay

He’s Humbert, I’m Dolores

Emily Witt

Archigram’s Ghost

Jonathan Meades

‘Love at Last Sight’

Chloë Daniel

Instapoetry

Clare Bucknell

Scotland’s Dreaming

Rory Scothorne

Diary: In Guy Vaes’s Footsteps

Iain Sinclair

Two PoemsCharles Simic
Close
Close

After St Sebastian
Had his chest
Pierced by arrows
He was nursed
Back to health
By a rich widow in Rome
With the help
Of a blind servant girl
Whose soft steps
I may have heard
Entering and leaving
My room at night
And whose name
I’d love to know
And whisper in the dark.

  Saw a toad
jump out of boiling water
  Saw a chicken
dance on a hot plate
  in a penny arcade
Saw Etruscans in a museum
  flogging slaves
to the accompaniment
  of pipes and flutes
Saw a palm tree
  trying to outrun a hurricane
Saw sea waves
  rush ashore
some angry
  some afraid
of what they’ll find
  Saw men and women
lose their heads
  and search for them everywhere
Saw a feast laid out
  on a long table
to which only crows came
  Saw a dog go forth
barking like a prophet of old
  Saw rats and mice
running terrified
  through mazes
   heralding
the evils to come

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