Wild Court

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

Two poems by Niall Campbell


    Passing a Lake and Noticing There Were Swimmers


The lake-swimmers push out again.
Clothes wrapped in plastic on the bank.
Is this what freedom is? The night-swim.
The moon its own lake. The legs kicking

past the waterweed and primrose.
Our dream of privateness. I think
of them and think of a bell ringing
and a bell being ignored. The bank

drifts back – they swim the water’s mirror:
in starlight, reflecting the starlight,
in sunlight, reflecting the sun.
Their life just a rumour past the shore.


    Exiting the Library


Night’s coming for the librarians,
darkening the window behind the desk –
the returned books have found their homes,
name to name, back on their shelf;

the last of the borrowers head out,
the stragglers at the workspace desks
pack bags to the tune of one last sentence –
it’s a time for barn-owls somewhere else,

landing on a branch, the two wings folding
somewhere inside the woods’ cold breath,
closing the way a book might close, soft,
softly, or a door close when everyone has left.