Wild Court

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

Two poems by Richie McCaffery

Image © Gerry Cambridge


Your last words to me were written, not spoken,
a paper cut severing us and our shared 14 years
because you felt it was for the good of us both,
how your happiness lay beyond this sacrifice.

Two years on I hope your forecast proved true,
it didn’t for me. I kept your letter which now
reminds me of those World War Two drives
for scrap metal to help with the war effort.

How miles and miles of fine wrought iron
railings and gates were felled for a greater
cause. It was all just a morale-boosting ploy –
the metal was no good, dumped in the North Sea.

Aitken beer fount

Beer taps can be critically endangered too,
such as the finely over-engineered Aitken fount,
only found in a few Victorian Edinburgh pubs.

I drink malty heavy in the Abbotsford bar
dispensed by one of these brass pilasters
and a gemutlich barman tells me the only man

who knew how to repair them just died
having trained no apprentice. I spend far
too much of my time in pubs these days

since you went away, the only person
who understood me through and through
but who despaired when they couldn’t fix me.