In the latest issue:

An Ordinary Woman

Alan Bennett

Anglo-America Loses its Grip

Pankaj Mishra

Short Cuts: John Bolton’s Unwitting Usefulness

Mattathias Schwartz

Smells of Hell

Keith Thomas

Mrs Oliphant

Tom Crewe

Tippett’s Knack

Philip Clark

At Tate Modern: Steve McQueen

Colin Grant

Catherine Lacey

Nicole Flattery

Churchill’s Cook

Rosemary Hill

The ‘Batrachomyomachia’

Ange Mlinko

On Dorothea Lange

Joanna Biggs

Paid to Race

Jon Day

Poem: ‘Traveller’s Tales: Chapter 90’

August Kleinzahler

The Soho Alphabet

Andrew O’Hagan

Old Tunes

Stephen Sedley

Victor Serge’s Defective Bolshevism

Tariq Ali

The Murdrous Machiavel

Erin Maglaque

Diary: Insane after coronavirus?

Patricia Lockwood

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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