2014 Winning Poems
What the Time Tells
Midnight chimes. We've come to know the knell
which shakes the low-beam library attic eaves
amid the thought-stained rustle of the leaves
of musk-scent books. We've come to know it well,
the tongue-struck bell pronouncing its low peal.
The ripple shivers down the spires in rings;
from Michaelmas to May Week still it sings
and spins our college walls around its spiel.
I know that lodestar's moth-worn song – it’s all
within the lamplight halo of a page:
‘I came like water, and like wind I go.’
A chime is brief, and three years aren’t so slow.
New ears will fill this honeycomb, whose age
is in its walls, and hear the same bell toll.
by Tara Lee, Queen's College Cambridge
The Labourers to Proserpina
Lust buds in Pluto's eye. The screech-owl wheels
and banks to spy the spring in soaring flight:
another voyeur vested in the light
that funds her sculpted body, scripts her spiels
of stimulating lines. Her warm skin feels
as smooth as truth. Gods broker deals and fight
for debts and powers according to their rites.
The God of Shadows skips the Styx and steals
her landscape for himself. Unhappy magnate,
her footsteps cannot gain this summer's sun,
and from its rootless depths the soil yeilds
no buds. What can we cut, so empty handed?
Why search for Proserpina? She's the one
who multiplies our hours in the fields
by Catherine Oliver, Corpus Christi College, Cambridge