According to Hunter Davies, John Lennon once asked for a rhyme to go with the word "time". Cynthia, his wife, suggested "I just feel fine" and Lennon said:
"No. You never use the word "just". It's meaningless. It's a fill-in word."
Why do I like that last sentence so much? Partly, because it makes Lennon sound like an English teacher. When Philip Norman wrote that Lennon had a liking for "flawless syntax and perfect scansion" I wasn't sure that I believed him. But here's the proof: Lennon's concern with the weight – the relative merits – of words. Of course, I should have known. But it's lovely to have it confirmed that "Strawberry Fields", for example, only seems to meander; that it is in fact carefully judged.
Which is true of all the contributions that we have published over the last three weeks. This week, we have something of a bumper issue. There's a poem by Kate Clanchy, and one by Ilya Kaminsky. There's a piece of writing about music and the pandemic by Nick Coleman, poems by Nkateko Masinga, Cynthia Manick, Fran Lock, Pascale Petit, Maya Jewell Zeller, Marion Tracy, Patrick Roberts and Rachel Burns, the continuation of Tom Raymond's novella, "One Hand Clapping", articles by Brandon Robshaw and Sayantani Dasgupta, our Track of the Week, photographs by Steve Shepherd, another film review by Christopher Miller, Noah Rasheta's thoughts on Buddhism, Maria Fusco's musings on Donald Sutherland and two beautiful, uncategorisable pieces by Blanca Regina and Helen Petts. They all have an awareness, to use Christopher Miller's phrase, of the "heft and swing" of their chosen medium. They sing, in other words, and I hope that you take the time to get to know them.