In the latest issue:

Boris Johnson’s First Year

Ferdinand Mount

Short Cuts: In the Bunker

Thomas Jones

Theban Power

James Romm

What can the WHO do?

James Meek

At the Type Archive

Alice Spawls

Where the Poor Lived

Alison Light

At the Movies: ‘Da 5 Bloods’

Michael Wood

Cultural Pillaging

Neal Ascherson

Jenny Offill

Adam Mars-Jones

Shakespeare v. the English

Michael Dobson

Poem: ‘Now Is the Cool of the Day’

Maureen N. McLane

Tativille

David Trotter

Consider the Hare

Katherine Rundell

How Should I Refer to You?

Amia Srinivasan

Poem: ‘Field Crickets (Gryllus campestris)’

Fiona Benson

Diary: In Mali

Rahmane Idrissa

Close
Close

Did you take me for a Greek word?
Most do, but I pre-date the Greeks.

I used to describe a limestone plateau
where dusty snakes and small owls lived

with a people from whose mouths emerged
my extensive family. I miss the sound

of my original kin as I muck in
with this new crowd, biting my tongue

when I hear two or even three words stuck
together to describe skies my first family

got in a syllable – skies that occur at nightfall
in Attica after days of languor in late August

(you know the ones). But as I mourn the fall
in standards, I tell myself to be grateful

I’m uttered without nostalgia and remain
the name of this place. I’d hate to join Siam,

Byzantium, Saigon, Rangoon, Bombay –
beautiful words in various stages of decay.

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