Wild Court

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

Three poems by Alison Brackenbury


    Chance: a dream


Yes. It was you. From its small source
my heart rushed like a flooded beck.
But would you lead a writing course?
Or choose a tweed with purple check?

The others sat, to write and learn.
It was too late to learn. Instead
I wandered out of your bare house.
I found you in your writing shed.

I thought that you had fled to work.
But you were languorous and kind.
How broad your shoulders, though you lived
upon your wits, your quick vain mind.

There we were old and we were young,
I called you ‘sweetheart’, till the hall
door shook with gales. Then I woke here,
and wrote this for you, after all.


‘Beck’: Lincolnshire dialect word for ‘stream’


    In the backyard


In the wine of last light
on the kitchen chair
I sat still to see bats.
The old cat crouched there.
No bats. A slow seagull,
small moths flitted bark.
Then a robin called endless
before the first dark.




On the bus, you rant against ‘immigrants’,
who you see everywhere,
then you stamp into your garden
past the Turkish cherries, the bare-
stemmed rose first named in China.
Your hurt breath slows. You stare
into pools of your dead wife’s snowdrops,
shipped here from God knows where.