Wild Court

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

Three poems by Teresa Forrest

Versions of the poems below appear in Teresa Forrest’s debut pamphlet, The Stories in Between, forthcoming as part of the Five Leaves New Poetry series. The pamphlet will be launched on the evening of 28th November at Five Leaves Bookshop, Nottingham. Details here.

In Ballerin Village

The fat-bellied range in my grandmother’s house worked hard,
to warm us. Get too close and it warned us with a scalding tongue.
Washing hung limp-bodied above it. Pans hissed with home-grown
and, once, a cockerel that had crowed too early for her liking.
Always the kettles whistled to her tune.
On summer evenings I clambered weary to an attic bed.
Each morning she gave me an orange,
a small globe that felt like the world.

Passing Through

In every picture my memory took
of him, my grandfather wore overalls –
he who seldom spoke but would recite
the rosary every day, his fingers clasping
each bead as prayers slipped
from his lips, ascended.

Here he is rootling in the chicken coop,
his fine hands reaching to scatter
corn and poultry mash.
We watch their dipping beaks,
their scratch and bustle.

This time he stoops, as old boys do,
to cultivate his rows of praties, carrots, leeks,
this man of the soil, this earth, while I stain
my lips with stolen strawberries.

Now he shows me how to
grasp a scythe firmly, slice
through waist-high grass

he who takes his leave in the chapel plot,
soil beneath and above him.

Rooted there.


i.m. Ann Forrest, 1944 – 2020

Between Avish and Gortmore,
the mountain that
with flat-plateaued fortitude
has held for 60 million years
as epochs passed.
Its shadow sweeps fields folded
into green, and towns full
of longing.

A skylark rises in song,
stills on the wind,

The mountain insists.
On fine days the sun shimmers
through clouds, then
consecrates the landscape – wych elm, ash,
wild thyme, uncovering possibilities.
In those hedgerows the world turns.

Under darkening skies, I am here,
thinking of you as I turn for home.