Wild Court

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

A poem from ‘A Separate Appointment’ by Rebecca Farmer


The poem below appears in Rebecca Farmer’s new pamphlet, A Separate Appointment, published by New Walk Editions on 16th November. Rebecca will be launching A Separate Appointment jointly on Zoom with William Thompson and his pamphlet, After Clare, at 7pm UK time on the 16th. Register here. ‘Meeting Cary Grant in St Ives’ first appeared in The Spectator.



    Meeting Cary Grant in St Ives


We hired a car, left the city,
drove 300 miles to the West,
did what they told us to do,
wore masks, kept ourselves
to ourselves, obsessively sanitised
and wrung our hands like Lady Macbeth.

That morning we stood in the sea.
Pounded by waves we clung
to each other, no time to think of death,
only of holding up, not going under.
Later we didn’t mind the cliché of moonlit cliffs,
we’d forgotten there were stars.

Fear returned the night before we left
that’s when we met the man in a grey suit,
saw his reality shift between sips
of a martini at the Plaza on 59th.
We loved his surprised look, his easy smile;
we knew how it felt to stand
at a bus stop sprayed by bullets
from a crop-duster. In a race for life
you take the train North by Northwest.