No Bloody Way!

by Duncan Gillies MacLaurin

for Mark and Mike, whose room it was

A crowd of students sitting round a room
one summer night in 1983.
They barely move, make little sound, assume
they’ve every right to simply wait and see.
Until the college porter comes along
to tell them that they’re threatening the peace.
It’s obvious he’s got his sums all wrong.
And what’s he going to do? Ring the police?

This memory will always ebb and flow;
a part of me has never come of age.
So when today I find a treble “No!”
means rattling the same old bloody cage,
I’m back in Oxford sounding out success,
the silent choir inside me shouting “Yes!”

 

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