Undergraduates

There’s an ancient capital town
we have found a tiny space in,
between the sandstone tenement
buildings and the cobble stone roads,
and the tourist-filled corner shops
we visit and buy shortbread from,

and the coffee shops we meet in
once a week, twice a week, three times;
earl grey sipping, we make sense of
the world that lives around us.
Ginger biscuit bricks separating
what we find real and what is –

or what we find important now,
when life splits into twelve long weeks
and we count down days by deadlines,
or how long until we go home.
There will be before and after,
and things we don’t know of just yet.

Sundays are the softest days here,
when old men read the papers we
don’t read, and their families visit.
Grandchildren dancing or flying
round communal gardens, as if
ballerinas in the Swan Lake,

for all the tenants in cold flats
who share the garden to watch on.
We’ll remember how it felt to
never think we’re getting older,
to create worlds inside our heads
and be back home in time for tea.

Those are the days the bubble bursts
and the rain melts the ginger bricks
that keep us from the outside world –
the world we have a tiny space
to live in, to be a part of,
in our homes for these four short years.

 

Image: Josh Green

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