Wild Court

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

Four poems by James Peake


James Peake’s debut collection, Reaction Time of Glass, will be published by Two Rivers Press on 21st July. Below are four poems by James, including, from the book, ‘Marine Snow, Hammersmith’.



    Marine Snow, Hammersmith


The flyover this late is less than human,
the only evident affection
drops from the sodium vapours overhead
to the blue ruins they invigilate.

Hereabouts so exquisitely drowned
that nothing seems altered or sways,
glass doesn’t cloud or give, and no one thing
self-seeks like submarine oxyacetylene.

My home is identical but not the same.
I squeeze irrelevant keys, taste familiar dark
unstirred by loved ones, my wife,
our child, ablaze with sleep. The shadows
of unseen fish dislodge from the roof.


    A Berlin Evening


Other early lights on, higher or lower,
in the block the side of Yorckstrasse
I can see, a pendant passed beneath
by a man called to hidden rooms,
or the short timer for a legible landing,
uplighter on full for a team meeting,
all of whom gesture like TV presenters -
that sense of permanent audience -
taking broadcast turns to speak, one
after the other bar one, a listener,
who rubs eyes to reveal, what?
Earthbound stars, unreachable
fires on a neighbouring mountain.




Withheld rain
darkens like fruit,

curls white light
to a filament

about to pop from the heat.
That stubborn puddle

our underworld

of exaggerated colour,
holds in trust

the glowing sheer
of a freshly risen high-rise

and a single
forgotten window.


    The Bunker


The entrance is not at the end of the tunnel
but appears once the tunnel has turned. This
takes some of the punch out of the blast, or would.
Cables run alongside arrivals, in slow accord,
easeful rhythm. The acoustics just so much luck.
A further slope to double doors, like a theatre’s,
hardly staying closed, keeping in top range noise
and shirtless dancers, letting out primary colours
and bass so heavy it promotes you into your body.