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

Close
Close

We are the dawn sniffers, the motley few,
This morning snuffling at the lateness
Of the only service this side of midday.
Does it still exist? Is it late enough
To risk a common ground with coded quips
Regarding ‘leaves’, or some such dreary mot?

The plaque inside the cedar-scented bothy
Tells of how this elevated halt
Was saved from nettly dereliction
By Betjeman’s verses at the vanguard
Of a Churchillian parish effort.
(Who says poetry makes nothing happen?)

This the kind of quaint campaign, I reflect,
Which keeps the — Echo in semi-circles
Of waistcoated heroes (mayoral chains
And paunch centre) the pale ale committees
In clover; a dwindling band in the faith
That all is well and all manner of things ...

The train that finally sulks round the bend
Is new-liveried, owned by accountants,
The portly driver leaning out to shrug
Not looking forward to the downsizing
As we’re sealed in with rattly laptops,
A Walkman’s hard hiss too close for comfort.

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