Landor at Sea

A poem by E M Forster, first published in the New Statesman on 6 August 1938.

I strove with none, for none was worth my strife;
Reason I loved, and, next to Reason, Doubt;
I warmed both hands before the fire of life;
And put it out.

First published in the New Statesman on 6 August 1938

“The New Statesman Century”, an anthology of some of the best and boldest articles from the magazine’s history, is published on 18 July. For more information, go to: newstatesman.com/century

This article first appeared in the 15 July 2013 issue of the New Statesman, The New Machiavelli

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“The Hole-Up”: a poem by Matthew Sweeney

“You could taste the raw / seagull you’d killed and plucked, / the mussels you’d dug from sand, / the jellyfish that wobbled in your / hands as you slobbered it.”

Lying on your mouth and nose
on the hot sand, you recall
a trip in a boat to the island –
the fat rats that skittered about
after god-knows-what dinner,
the chubby seals staring up,
the sudden realisation that a man
on the run had wintered there
while the soldiers scoured
the entire shoreline to no avail –
you knew now you had been him
out there. You could taste the raw
seagull you’d killed and plucked,
the mussels you’d dug from sand,
the jellyfish that wobbled in your
hands as you slobbered it.
You saw again that first flame
those rubbed stones woke in
the driftwood pile, and that rat
you grilled on a spar and found
delicious. Yes, you’d been that man,
and you had to admit now you
missed that time, that life,
though you were very glad you
had no memory of how it ended.


Matthew Sweeney’s Black Moon was shortlisted for the 2007 T S Eliot Prize. His latest collection is Inquisition Lane (Bloodaxe).

This article first appeared in the 21 July 2016 issue of the New Statesman, The English Revolt