A Cambridge Lamentation

This place is always a little lonely

At the weekends...no noise and life;

I like solitude,

But not in places

Where there’s recently been

A lot of people.

Reclusiveness protects you

From nostalgia,

And you can be as nostalgic

In relation to what happened

Half an hour ago

As half a century ago, in fact more so.


I went to the Xmas party.

I danced,

And generally lived it up.

I went to bed sad though.

Discos exacerbate

My sense of solitude.

My capacity for social warmth,

Excessive social dependence,

And romantic zeal,

Can be practically deranging;

It’s no wonder I feel the need

To escape...


Escape from my own

Drastic social emotivity,

And devastating capacity

For loneliness.

I feel trapped here;

There’s no

Outlet for my talents.


In such a state as this,

I could fall in love with anyone.

The night before last,

I went to the ball,

Couples filing out, 

I wanted to be half of every one, 

But I didn't want to lose…

I’ll get over how I feel now,

And very soon.

Gradually I’ll freeze again,

Even assuming an extra layer of snow. 

I have to get out of here.



Author's Notes/Comments: 

A Cambridge Lamentation centres on my brief sojourn at a constituent college of the University of Cambridge. Its primary source is a letter written on campus on the Hills Road just outside the city centre at the age of 31 some time before Christmas, but never finished, nor sent, and which, according to what I have written, was adapted into various pieces, which were subsequently fused to forge A Cambridge Lamentation, notwithstanding later edits.

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Starward's picture

Remiunds me of my own college

Remiunds me of my own college experience decades ago.


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Carl_Halling's picture


Good to hear it. Thanks. 

Born London, residing London Metropolitan Area.

Starward's picture

I suppose the experience is

I suppose the experience is frequently the same anywhere, but you made a poem of it, and a well detailed poem, reflecting the stark reality.  Bravo!


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Carl_Halling's picture

I did...

...and thank you; it was forged from a letter I wrote from Cambridge, but which I never sent. Carl.

Born London, residing London Metropolitan Area.