Robert Jackson


We ate mango and lemon ice-cream,
watching the miracle of the drought, by which
water poured from open pipes in the street.
We sang in the cool of churches each near
too large for God, and the drains marked
Senatus Populusque Romanus made me look up
to arches as old as Seneca, fording quotidian streets.
We dodged cars, motorbikes, each of them
ready to take a life like yours, or mine.
Not yet in love, but under leadership,
I followed you, your guidebook, ignorant
of the group we were with, and barely conscious
of the requirement we sing for our supper.
An effect of the climate; a few days in the life.
One night, the last, on a bench beside St. Paul’s
Within the Walls, on the Via Nazionale, just a little
down from the Repubblica Hotel, where we stayed –
very little happened. We sat together in a warmth
whose lack of sunlit source felt like providence:
we were comfortable. Unplanned,
I held your hand.


Robert Jackson is currently an undergraduate English student at Corpus Christi College, Oxford. He has previously had poems published by Notes OxfordSeven Voices and Oxford Writers’ House.