Oxford in July

Walk out early to watch the city of Oxford
wake by the clock.
Perhaps the Friends are gathered somewhere quietly,
but no one hurries to a shrine or shop.

After a while, a cautious rectitude
begins behind the counters; buses arrive,
the vague meandering commences in the streets;
mendicant murmurs arise from doorways.

In gardens locked behind the college gates
larkspur pyramids flare violet in the heat.
The dreaming spires dream of Michaelmas.

Robert E Wood