Portraits of Cambridge

A place
where a girl running
isn’t just
bouncing breasts.

Girls here can

before they disappear into the
blue plaques of cam-boys-clubs
by the Eagle Pub.

A place
where eagles
can only be he.

Dining halls map histories
the walls – a sea of portraits

as I pray in Latin
eat in English
boiled carrots with a side of male gaze please.

A place
where exhibitions echo
50 years of women in

The floors – a fragile border of faces

as I walk in woman
search in brown

then run back



Bhumika Billa is a UK-based Indian-origin poet, dancer, filmmaker & legal academic. A Button Poetry Grand Champion (2023), Out-Spoken Prize Finalist (2023), and BBC Words First Finalist (2021), her poems on the stage, on page, and on film have been featured on/published by Button Poetry, UK UniSlam, Apples and Snakes and The Alipore Post among others.
Website: https://linktr.ee/bhumikabilla | Instagram/Twitter:@bhumikabilla.

‘Portraits of Cambridge’ was produced as part of the Future Voices project established to nurture emerging talent from across England, and funded by Apples and Snakes to celebrate its 40th anniversary:

We invited leading spoken word artists and filmmakers to run an intensive masterclass programme for the 40 emerging poets online. The aim of the programme war for participants to produce a short poetic film (one minute long) to accompany a new poem about their ‘world’ – their life, local environment or city.

Details of the project and links to all the videos can be found here.