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The Bridge of Sighs (Oxford) by Carol Wain

Arts Richmond

Online - 02 August 2020

The Bridge of Sighs (Oxford) by Carol Wain

 The Bridge of Sighs, Oxford  (On Revisiting Oxford)

  by Carol Wain

I never sighed at the Bridge of Sighs.
I had been there several times:
Once for a wedding, a grand affair –
Once for your entrance interview,
Several times for summer visits, and
Once on your happy Graduation Day.
Then once more on your funeral day.

In the photograph the sun sparkles
On latticed windows, and on yellow stone;
The golden grey of the arched stone brickwork,
Re-echoed in the Sheldonian’s columns:
It reminds me of Venice without canals.
Venice – where you strolled and posed for pictures
         with your fond admirer,
Elegant tourist in Indian scarf and shades,
You could have been a film star incognito…

I’ll return to the Bridge of Sighs, and sigh
For one who often walked beneath, and
Lived in the small scholar’s room in the turret.
Oxford was your oyster – now your grave,
And bittersweet nostalgia for remembered youth.


Written November 14th just before revisiting Oxford and Alice’s old haunts: six months after her sudden death in a road crash in Scotland, shortly after her funeral held in her college Hertford College's Chapel. She studied there for 6 years.

The Bridge of Sighs by Carol Wain

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