on Bulwarks Lane I incline my head
mimicking the bent top of the streetlamp
on the quaint cobbles and pass
ancient St. Mary the Virgin church,
Catte Street and Carfax Tower.
Back then I had a lover by my side
who haunted dreams until obsession died.
It is a sultry summer afternoon;
the horizon boasting mountain clouds
as I enter the arched door of Balliol,
sun caressing the historic grey stone walls.
I am alone now but once upon a time we came
to visit my brother when youthful dreams
were still alive in our hangover eyes
and a smile was not used as a disguise.
I remember drunken nights in the King's Arms
and vague ghosts of those I formerly knew.
By the chapel are plaques commemorating
the dead from this college in world wars
but it is the mulberry tree, 400 years old,
behind vibrant flowers fluttering in the breeze
that shows life is fleeting and time no friend,
even this tree...will crumble in the end.