A Letter to Julia from 2015 – Cynthia Fuller

You won’t be at all surprised to hear
that the Percy Building’s second floor
has resumed its serious demeanour.
All the fun you brought with the comfy sofa,
your afternoon sleeps and crazy knitting,
fruit and cake and noisy laughter,
was painted over
with institutional magnolia.

And there aren’t so many lurking now
outside buildings, out of the wind,
smoking roll ups and having lively chats –
though they’re still rebelling, your kindred spirits,
still naughty girls behind the bike sheds.

But I think you might be surprised to hear
you have a starring role in a PhD –
you and your faith in the power of poetry,
you and your ‘own sweet tasting words’.
You’re sharing the spot with Stevie Smith.
I think you’d like that.
I can see the two of you chatting over tea.
I can see you cheering her up.


Julia’s positive approach to life, her warmth and enthusiasm inspired me. Her refusal to conform and her ability to be herself whatever the situation and whoever she was speaking to were also inspirational to me.

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