“18”: a poem by Iain Banks

A work by the late author.

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Displeased with all
The blind men touching it
Up, fondling and
Prodding its
Skin, tail, trunk, legs and tusks,
The beast tramples them all to death
And resumes its work
Composing a treatise on reality.


Iain Banks, the author of 27 novels including The Wasp Factory, had been working on a collection of poems when he died in 2013. (Some of them, such as “18”, were left with numbers instead of titles.) Poems by Iain Banks and Ken MacLeod will be published by Little, Brown on 16 February.

This article appears in the 13 February 2015 issue of the New Statesman, Assad vs Isis

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