An Early Return


There it is, although not lovely,
An odour that I recognise:
The smell of the college toilets, cleaned,
And polished empty corridors
Beyond Reception’s brand new coat
Of virgin blue and white.

New front doors and some fresh paint put in,
Just in time for a new semester to begin,
And yet it feels about the same,
Despite the shorter list of names
Outside the oil-thirsty door
Of the exam-hall on the second floor.

It feels about the same, and yet,
While climbing the century-old steps,
I also sense a change, a bit
More certainty in my footsteps.
The walls are still as broad, the ceilings high,
The people praise a trinity in the sky,
And though at most an inch is all I’ve grown,
Between these walls I’m ready to hold my own.

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