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


Joe Dunthorne

Poem: ‘The Reach of the Sea’

Maureen N. McLane

Diary: Where water used to be

Rosa Lyster


Court of the Lions

After fifty years to revisit the Alhambra and witness
the same water spewing from the lion’s maw:
I remember wearing a silver short-sleeved shirt
adorned with dragons, and for the first time,

on the airport runway, hearing the night alive
with the cicadas’ tiny anvils. This time, the metal plate
screwed to my femur vibrates to their call, my heart
to the murmur of marble, the patter of water.


By some cosmic quirk the disconnected phone
unleashed a scarlet squeal. – I pounced.
Before the apology expired I asked and got
the wrong number the voice had tried,

so for a whole year without a single bill
I owned those magic digits to dispense
– only for incoming not outgoing calls
but a tiny lifeline to the ancient flat

in via Torquato Tasso I shared with the din
of Cerberus barking in the courtyard – forget the rat –
and a crack the earthquake left in the vaulted ceiling.

Thirty years on, in the small dark hours,
I reach for the black Bakelite receiver
to hear the music of Venus receding.

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