Wild Court

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

Two poems by Will Stone

Eternal Life

Slowly the leaves grow yellow and fall,
and I hear leaders of corporate empires
fully confident of achieving eternal life
for select customers in their lifetime.
But in the Aveyron in the year 1851,
most peasants the traveller encountered
expressed a sincere longing for death.

Lone swan on the Goudenhandrei
lifting off, permitted by ancient law
to tear open the pristine onyx surface.
All is spent then before ripples embalm
and the little skiffs of down are borne
beneath green and violet venetian glass.

In the chapel above Raron I light candles,
pay the franc due for each finite flame.
Our lifeboats sit too low in the water,
around us white arms break the surface,
cries slip eagerly out of the blackness,
but there are just too many to rescue,
in the end the weakening, the unprepared
can be easily fended off with an oar.

Corner Shop

Friday afternoons in all seasons,
when blossoms leapt from gardens
only to slow in damp asphalt scent,
or that October wind, cloud-paled
shook the early dead leaves in,
you held up a warm sixpence,
and she turned to the shelves,
to face the rank of misted jars.
A toy tin shovel dusted white,
tipped into a tiny paper bag
swung briskly once to secure
the cache of sugary amber rocks.
The bell over the door rang wearily,
as out you slipped with a scent of
counter, of drawers and shelves,
of dust and unlived window air.
So it vanished, became a home
we passed on our way to school,
mausoleum, that off-white wall
where the outline of the old door
proved itself as cracks in plaster,
insistent, yet never quite enough
like those across ice left by one
drifting beneath, determined to live
but who cannot break through.