Wild Court

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

Two poems by Matthew Paul

Photo by Thomas Verbruggen on Unsplash

A Short History of Greenhouses

In the end, my father’s greenhouse was shipwrecked
By ivy, which spiralled round bamboo canes, stuck
Like octopus suckers glued to a crab-shell, cracked

The last surviving glass and snaked through holes
At the bottom of terracotta plastic pots. An oddball
Nurseryman, a character actor throwing colourful

Shade, Dad brought on innumerable seedlings within
It. In our own garden yesterday, I proposed to Lyn,
Who whistled while she pricked-out and potted-on,

That we ought to get one built, beyond the flowerbed,
Patio, the secrecy of foxholes, Lyn’s shipshape shed.
‘It all depends upon the sun’s trajectory,’ she said.

Edward Burra at the Gaiety, Hastings

Sole punter for a children’s film he’s already calling 
Shitty Shitty Bang Bang, Edward’s here to watch
pal Bobby Helpmann enter proceedings. His noggin
bang-bangs from too many Bloody Marys in another 
late lock-in at the Pipemakers’ Arms. For restorative 
purposes, he chomps a ‘fudge’ of squidgy, black hash—

his arthritic hands won’t furnish ‘asthma cigarettes’.
‘Lollipops, free today. Come along, kiddy-winkies!’
sing-songs Bobby’s Child Catcher, whose nose slopes
freakishly, like the bills of birdmen Edward painted
when tidal waves of Heinkels chevroned over Rye,
his ‘Tinker Belle Towne’. He cackles then smirks

at the memory of silent pictures he and his art-school 
crowd adored; the title-cards’ cyphered innuendoes—
and in thankfulness for how utterly marvellous it is 
to watch an old mucker hamming it up as the queerest
whip-cracking villain ever to demi-pointe black-leather 
winkle-picker boots across the not-so-silver screen.