Sheena Blackhall

Gold Star - 6,677 Points (18/8/1947 / Aberdeen)

Cambridge - Poem by Sheena Blackhall

Cambridge is Brueghel's Village come to life
Warren of Gothic windows, red brick walls
Eating, laughing, drinking on the streets
Visitors throng the eateries and halls
Ring Toni's Ice cream van and market stalls

See there, a wattle fence, a low thatched roof
Clipped cleanly as a tonsured, shiny friar!
Ale houses, colleges, and grazing cows
All line the River Cam, by College spire

Daffodils, aconites, anemones,
Swans gliding up to punts along the backs
Sun dappled bridges, lazy, languid days
The splash of water raised by oar smacks

A cycling city, all the world is here
Queen's College, where Erasmus came to teach
Labelling local girls ‘the kissing kind'
Oh, Youth's the time to suck life like a peach

John Harvard, an Emmanuel graduate
Son of a Southwark butcher, crossed the seas
Funding a college in the Pilgrim World
His name, his library, success's keys

Magdalene College houses Pepys's diary
Christ's College boasts bee-hives, a mulberry tree
That shaded Milton as he wrote his poems
None could compose so powerfully as he

Corpus Christi holds King Alfred's book
The Anglo Saxon Chronicle and Psalter
Once owned by Thomas Becket, martyred man,
Murdered within the sight of holy altar

The College of St John set on the Cam
Beside the Bridge of Sighs, has a Great Gate
With mythic beasts. Three saints attended
Here, along with bishops and great heads of state

Nobel Prize winners, Huxton, Bragg, et al
Came up to Trinity, and that bête noire,
Lord Byron, kept his pet bear Bruin here
Down in the stables, poetry's dark star

And the rain falls out of the Heavens
And sparkles, with sun distilled
Like the thoughts of the Cambridge scholars
Who the Book of Knowledge has filled

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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Poem Edited: Sunday, October 21, 2012

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