Monthly Archives: September 2017

Trend

Trend

i read
the quarterly bulletin
from
the poetry society

first one poet
then another
then another
and yet another

no capital letters
no indentation
no punctuation

just words
and spaces

is this
a trend

it must be
a trend

perhaps i should start
doing it

before they all start
doing it

words in space
humble art

how it was
at the start

I live in Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, and often visit Cambridge, to meet friends there, and indulge in nostalgia for my student days.  The city of Ely (the second smallest city in England, apparently) is considerably nearer to Peterborough than Cambridge is, but I rarely go there.  I don’t have any friends who live there, and it’s always been a bit of an unknown quantity for me, despite having a wonderful cathedral that is even more impressive than Peterborough Cathedral.  I finally paid a visit there, a few weeks ago, and found it to be a fascinating place; the only criticism I could make is of the extortionate prices charged in the pubs there for a pint of real ale!  By coincidence, one of the first books I read, after visiting Ely, happened to be by the poet Wendy Cope, who – I found, to my surprise, –  actually lives in Ely.

Wendy Cope is one of my favourite poets, and is famous as a writer of humorous verse and witty parodies.  So, when I received the latest issued of the Poetry Society Bulletin, and found myself reading poem after poem written with no capital letters and no punctuation, my immediate response was to write a parody, as I thought Wendy Cope might do.

 

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Cambridge: Culture

Cambridge (7): Culture

City of students,
professors, high, lofty thought.
Wisdom, sought eagerly,
imbibed as it’s taught.

City of colleges,
bookshops, cobbled alleyways.
City of eccentrics,
steeped in its ways.

Culture at its centre,
philosophy, art;
the vibrant, pulsing
beat of its heart.

A humble student
might even play a part.
I’d fallen in love with it,
right from the start.

This is the last – for the moment, anyway, – in the sequence of autobiographical poems I’ve been writing about my time as a student at Cambridge in the late 1970’s.  Having temporarily run out of ideas for autobiographical scenarios that might be of interest, I thought it might be an opportune moment to try to summarise, in a brief poem, what Cambridge had meant to me.  I still look back at that period with the greatest affection, and think how lucky I was to spend three years of my life as a student at Cambridge.  It’s also nice for me to realise that, living in Peterborough, I’m within easy reach of Cambridge, and still visit it frequently.

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