April 2009

Arts & Letters

Beachmaster

By Clive James

Scanning the face of a crestfallen wave
He sees his life collapsing to a close,
A foaming comber racing to its grave.
But after that one, there are all of those:

The ranks of the unbroken, the young men
Completely green, queuing to take their turn
To die so that the sea might live again.
That much it took him all his life to learn.

Propped on her elbow in the burning sand,
The latest Miss Australia views it all
As one vast courtship. With a loving hand
She strokes her thigh as one by one they fall,

Those high walls in the water. Look at her,
But shade your sad glance carefully, old man -
For she will never see you as you were,
A long way out, before the end began.

Clive James
Clive James is an author, critic, broadcaster and poet. He has written more than 20 books, including his memoir, The Blaze of Obscurity, and a collection of essays, The Revolt of the Pendulum.

Cover: April 2009

April 2009

From the front page

Hard-pressed

The government appears to be dragging its heels on media law reform

Photograph of Harold Bloom

Canon salute

Remembering Harold Bloom (July 11, 1930 – October 14, 2019)

The NBN-ding story

New developments in the interminable debate over broadband in Australia

‘The weekend’ cover

‘The Weekend’ by Charlotte Wood

The Stella Prize–winner returns with a stylish character study of women surprised by age


In This Issue

Words: Shane Maloney | Illustration: Chris Grosz

Paul Keating & Jack Lang

Illustration by Jeff Fisher.

Born again

‘Things We Didn’t See Coming’ by Steven Amsterdam

Illustration by Jeff Fisher.

Time loop


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Read on

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Clang, clang, clang: ‘Judy’

The Judy Garland biopic confuses humiliation for homage

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Labor runs the risk of putting expediency over principle

Afterwards, nothing is the same: Shirley Hazzard

On the splendour of the acclaimed author’s distinctly antipodean seeing


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