Talbot Campus on #dayx3*

The cold cuts deep despite the sun’s subtle warmth. A young girl pulls her coat tight around her, shivering in the bitter air as she makes her way to the warmth of Poole House. Shelter.

Inside, the canteen marks a departure from the desolate barrens of the outside world – conversations compete for attention as students sit nursing hot drinks, discussing the ebbs and flows of existence. Despite the chatter, however, many seats are empty; the abandoned tables contrast with the hub of activity that the canteen usually brings. The cashiers wear Christmas hats, trying to invoke some festive spirit. A tiny Christmas tree sits atop a counter, looking forlorn. Today, we mourn.

Today is the day that Parliament votes on the proposals for the rise in tuition fees; today is the day that our government votes to condemn future generations to a lifetime of debt. Perhaps this is the reason Talbot Campus is so empty, so unwelcoming – a taste of things to come. I head out of Poole House and make my way to the AUCB campus, to see if the atmosphere is any different. As I step onto AUCB soil, the rays of the sun hit me in the face, blinding me. The campus, however, is also deserted. A stack of abandoned goods lay strewn on the side of the path – chairs, desks, planks of wood, a TV. As I make a right and head down the path towards the courtyard, I see a few students wandering aimlessly, some sitting on benches smoking cigarettes in the bitter cold as a bulldozer makes its way towards a construction site, scattering a few students who look lost. The atmosphere here is no different from Talbot Campus; it is empty, uninviting and desolate. Today the whole of Bournemouth University appears to be in mourning, the outcome already pre-empted by the few who walk the twin campuses with no real purpose. I depart. A small procession of students passes, some carrying placards, making their way to the SUBU coaches bound for the London protest. Some have not given up yet, imbued with a fighting spirit and a sense of optimism. They are chatting amongst themselves, laughing. It inspires hope in me.

In the circle courtyard outside Poole House, a banner reads: “Bournemouth University against Education Cuts”. The courtyard itself is empty. Work is still commencing on the newest “state-of-the-art” lecture theatre, the construction site fenced off. Who knows whether it will ever be filled once the cuts start to bite? I head back into Poole House, into the warmth. Grabbing a coffee, I sit down and mull over the scene before me. Suddenly, Christmas music pipes up, lifting the bleak mood. BU language society members stand in a line, enacting the songs in sign language for those who sit attentively. People clap. I chuck a few pence into the donation pot and make my way out, hands in pockets, deep in thought.

*#dayx3 is the twitter hashtag for the third day of student demonstrations which took place on the actual day that Parliament voted on the proposals to raise tuition fees. I wrote this feature on dayx3, as I walked around Bournemouth University’s Talbot Campus. It was a cold winter morning, and the campus was fairly quiet, perhaps an indicator of things to come, I wondered. I filed this under Comment as well as Fiction>Stories, as it is also a piece of creative, journalistic writing.

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The Roses

I wanted to write a poem to see if I could “manage” it – most of my writings were articles or short stories and I wanted to “branch out” a bit and attempt a poem. I wanted to try and write a sort of archetypal poem, hence I chose to write about roses. I felt that this was one of the most archetypal imagery used in poetry and so I thought it would be a good place to start.

The roses


Softly spoke with flows and gestures

And silver dew that stayed upon,

Yet to brace the winter sun

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War and Peace

This is a poem that I wrote a few months ago. I was inspired by a conversation that I had with a close friend on the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as the conflicts throughout the world that are still ongoing today. Many of the conflicts are being fought by new generations of soldiers or “freedom fighters”, some barely more than children who inherit the history and the battles from their fathers, grandfathers or even ancestors. In this decade of warfare and violence, it appears as if there is no foreseeable end in sight; the wars are self-perpetuating, the new generations inherit the anger and the vengeance from the past and continue the fight. During the conversation, we discussed how warfare has changed from battles on horseback or on foot, using weapons such as swords which harm only the users. Throughout the course of history, weaponry has evolved to cause more damage and destruction, to the point where today we use missiles and bombs, tanks and fighters, which level cities and kill thousands of civilians. Now, warfare takes the lives of those not present on the battlefield, those who never asked for the violence. Where once battle was honourable and took trained knights or soldiers, now war is as simple as designating specific co-ordinates and launching a missile from the control room. Obviously this is just a part of warfare but serves to illustrate how battles have “evolved”, and how if we do not consciously stop the warfare, then it will continue to perpetuate with each new generation inheriting the history of violence, with no end in sight.


I don’t know the end, or how it began,
or the men that were slain, or the songs that they sang,
but I know that the battles continue this day,
for the violence remains, it is here to stay.

Fighting for freedom, for love and for peace
they clashed swords with Fate and let Death take his prizes
For out of the carnage and blood nothing rises
Save evil and sin, Destiny’s twin, blackened and twisted it rises within Continue reading