Wild Court

An international poetry journal based in the English Department of King’s College London

‘Highbury Park’: a poem by Liz Berry


    Highbury Park


In the woods at night men are fucking
amongst the gorgeous piñatas of the rhododendrons,
the avenue of cool limes.
By day I walk my son down the secret pathways,
smell the salt rime of sex on the wind,
a condom glowing with blossomy cum,
knotted and flung; I bury it gently
under the moss with my boots.
I envy them, these lovers, dark pines
beneath their knees, the tarry earth
opaline with the desire paths of snails,
fallen feathers in the dirt like warnings.
I know those days of aching to be touched
by no-one who knows you.
After he was born I wanted nothing but the wind
to hold me, the soft-mouthed breeze
coaxing my skin like the grass
from a trampled field.
How heavenly it seemed then, light shafting
emerald through wounded leaves,
the woods a church, we its worshippers,
and all that sex - freed from love and duty -
like being taken by the wind, swept
from the cloistered rooms of your life,
stripped and blown,
then jilted dazzling in the arms of the trees.