Wild Court

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

Three poems by Jennifer Lee Tsai


    Another Language


When I speak in Cantonese,
I’m almost a different person.
Louder, brighter.
The seven tones, ascending,
descending like musical notes.

My grandparents,
leaving the fragrant harbour
of Hong-Kong, the Pearl River of Guang-Zhou
for the dream of a better life in the West –
what did they make of English?

Alighting from the liner at the docks
in the rain, hearing Liverpool accents
for the first time –
two gold koi
swimming into the Mersey.



    Last Night


I dreamt of you again
there in that Victorian house
draped with ivy and wisteria
by the lake and the park
an attic room overlooking
a garden gone wild
bramble      red clover      nettles

an array of sash windows
criss-crossed with bars
on the outside and inside
the frames dusty with cobwebs
a White-Witch moth

the room filled with smoke
and candlelight      perfume of juniper berries
no furniture      just a bed      an old turntable
a mélange of Rameau and Beefheart    
cherubs on the ceiling
and up the alabaster walls



    An Old Flame


Lately she can’t stop thinking
of him again – their brief dance
when her amber dress flared
up in the night like a match –
struck, then quickly extinguished
before the fire started.