Wild Court

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

Two poems by Rachel Piercey


    Small griefs,


like looking up from the page and realising that the train,
for quite some time, has been moving
through the kind of scene
that feathers your body with desire.
Border of buddleia and rosebay,
foreground of inscrutable wheat.
And how many hedged fields, billowing up and over the hillside,
have you missed?
Aestheticised history; oak trees. Big griefs.
For the dwindlings, the parcellings.
For the ferocities.
From the track: on the gentle slopes, simple puffs of sheep.

These poems you were reading were not in your past.
These fields, hills and hedges were not in your past.
But here’s nostalgia, uncoupled from linear time,
the sensual pain of page and soil.
In every way but real you were built on their plains: these exact tracts of land,
exact black marks.

Your grief, now, is for the view, which you cannot carry.
Your grief is for the view –
unfiltered through anyone’s imagination (other poets’, your own,
the opaque page) – so nearly yours, but for the window and the inexorability
of the train.


    Mycorrhiza II


A man I trust
will always touch
the trees he works with.

If you want to read them,
trees have nothing to tell,
but not telling
is not the same as nothing said.

A bud coddled too warmly
may burst early
then be burnt by frost.
If there’s meaning here, it is for all of us –
the tick, the bird, the deer,
the people I do and do not trust.

Under the tarmac, the scrub grass, the dust
are pale webs of fungus
moving messages.

Put your hands in the earth
and then your head.
Let the trees’ exquisite system
touch the humans it works with.