Wild Court

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

Two poems by Kathryn Simmonds

Photo by Marten Bjork


    Premier Inn


You, who have been sought in all the lonely places,
        (should my mouth be berries and ash)
will you come to this locked room? Will you come
        in dimmed-down dark, a purple sash
across the bed? (Should I find myself a cell, a heath instead.)

        The en-suite is electric, white as paradise,
its articles of faith un-bagged, arranged: toothbrush,
        moisturiser, shower gel, and just in case
a box of paracetamol – everything designed to keep us fresh,
        to keep us safe & well.

The flat-screen sleeps, the Wi-Fi is at rest, though it
        can never be at peace. Be near me now. I feel
an emptying out and hear a stifled spill from pub to street
        as farewells scatter on the night. A car door slams.

I’m four flights up and sealed in.
Will you come? My arms
        are open and I wait, poised on the brutal
                     creases of this sheet.


    Inside the Whale


She will have peril:
Daniel locked in with the lions,
or Goliath felled like a tree.

Tonight we’re fleeing God with Jonah,
clambering aboard a ship bound for Tarshish
before that plunge into a freezing sea,
and though we’ve read this chunk of ancient
storytelling many times, tonight it’s true,

truer than anything I know to be –
for who hasn’t known the inside
of a whale’s belly,
how it feels to crouch there
in a breathing cave

not seeing any world outside,
only rocking over waters,
eyes closed, longing for deliverance.