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  1. Culture
29 May 2019

Lines Off

A new poem by Hugo Williams.

By Hugo Williams

I don’t know whether to make
the difficult right-hand descent
by way of a crooked stair
with its missing steps
and multiple overhangs
and risk arriving late,
or take the vertiginous plunge
down the left-hand margin
and arrive ahead of myself.

I’d rather take the lift,
but where is it located
in this godforsaken building?
I can’t make my entrance
suspended in mid-air, groping blindly
for non-existent bannisters.
I feel like turning back,
but it’s too late for that now.
I’m going to have to jump.

Hugo Williams won the TS Eliot Prize in 1999 for Billy’s Rain. His new collection Lines Off is published by Faber & Faber.

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Select and enter your email address Your weekly guide to the best writing on ideas, politics, books and culture every Saturday. The best way to sign up for The Saturday Read is via saturdayread.substack.com The New Statesman's quick and essential guide to the news and politics of the day. The best way to sign up for Morning Call is via morningcall.substack.com Our Thursday ideas newsletter, delving into philosophy, criticism, and intellectual history. The best way to sign up for The Salvo is via thesalvo.substack.com Stay up to date with NS events, subscription offers & updates. Weekly analysis of the shift to a new economy from the New Statesman's Spotlight on Policy team.
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