Cathedral Square, in summertime glow;
fountains and children provide the show.
The cathedral, nearby, just part of the view;
with slender spires puncturing the blue.
Surging fountains spatter and spray;
children enticed to unfettered play.
Whimsical, as life, fountains fascinate.
Spontaneous, wilful, they tease, frustrate.
Small children laugh, scream with delight;
run forward, boldly, back-off with fright.
People sit on benches, take in the sights,
think back to a time when they still could be
as these children are: innocent and free.
Sun-worshippers sit idly, frazzling their skins;
brainier pigeons shower their wings.
Others seem less at ease in the heat;
shifting, nervously, in their seats,
fancying they hear the haunting “tick-tock”,
the hurrying hands of the Guildhall clock.
In the back of their minds, unsettling truth:
that brief burst of glory, evanescence of youth.
“Cathedral Square” is a poem inspired by the real Cathedral Square, in Peterborough (i.e. Cambridgeshire, UK), where I live. It is a kind of companion-piece to an earlier poem “Sun-Salutation”, which I wrote about the other prominent square in Peterborough, Laxton Square. Both squares are situated adjacent to Peterborough’s famous cathedral, yet they have completely different atmospheres and identities, which are – somewhat ironically – nothing to do with the cathedral itself.