By: Michael Cridland (Mechanical Engineering)
Competition Year: 2012
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With its neatly trimmed hedges acting as ramparts,
Protecting the land from prying eyes.
A dried out moat surrounds the false castle,
Revealing the bottommost reaches of the stronghold.
Here the library sits snugly at its base.
Inside the air is filled with the smell of unused books
And cheap deodorant, wafting upwards to the striped ceiling.
Together they form an invisible mist of university essence.
The auburn shelves tower over their realm,
Guarding their subjects fiercely.
No books will be leaving the library today.
Neatly arranged into compact sections with only the occasional squabble:
Medicine is invading Music,
No doubt the loser will be relegated to empty Dictionary.
The dim overhead fluorescent lights flicker,
Illuminating a single student sat at one of the marked desks,
Where crop circles dot the tables from illegal cans and cups.
His blank expression indicates he is working on statistics.
The hieroglyphs on the display project onto his face in the poor light,
As if he was wearing an ancient burial mask.
The wireless box on the oak bench flashes with glee at his plight,
Green fireworks exploding in silent laughter.
Wires snake from its brain into the whitewashed wall.
The aged shelves creak and whisper to each other,
Wondering if the student will ever leave them alone.
But alas his expression remains vacant and his face as still as stone.
It will be a while.
The computer whirrs in agreement.