Wild Court

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

Two poems by Bernard Pearson

Photo by Simon Godfrey on Unsplash


    Manor Farm, Gotherington


The walls stooped
Under the weight of age.
Windows frowned
From gables
Out towards
Wicked, old, Cleeve hill.

At the front, a cote,
Devoid of dove and egg,
Stood sentry and I, a child
Inside its bell,
Hushed by such anatomy,
Wondering at
The innards of the past.

In one barn, an old
Gig, crippled and wheelless
Carried no one to prayer now.

I remember
To the side, a pond,
Rich of reed and birds
Translating the summer
Into song.
Then recall
My father talking of the coracle
That used to teacup him to the
Other side
While older boys, in France now,
Not their village, left
Mothers for the mud.

All this memory arrives
In response to a photograph
Of my great aunt,
A thin-tendrilled beauty
In black velvet and fox fur
Walking up the drive
Into her widowhood.


    On Establishing What Death Means to Cats


This is our cat, all collected up,
Cushion plump, on the
Silver Salver given to
My grandfather on his marriage,
To ‘the iron fist in a velvet glove.’
The cat reflected in the half polished
Mappin and Webb tray
Knows that she has transgressed
And feels all the better for it
By the look of her.
Although she rules softly in her old age.

On the reverse of the wedding gift
Everlasting signatures,
From shipmates – some posh, some mundane – all gone
To Davey Jones’s locker or the cancer ward.
Jack, the groom, was indeed a sailor
Though I only knew him when in port,
Waiting patiently for death
To decommission him.
His last words were
‘I’m sorry to keep you waiting.’
But before then we would read of
‘Alan Quartermaine’ and
‘The Mountains of the Moon’.
Cat’s cannot wait for anything,
Not even death, of which they
Know nothing, always assuming
There is nothing to know.
They put my grandfather
In a box; I hope it smelt to him
Like the Cedars of Lebanon.