Young Poet: Sidney Lawson

Sidney Lawson, a 17-year-old Foyle Young Poet, deals in characters. Favourite poem: ‘Soliloquy of the Solipsist’ by Sylvia Plath. Favourite song: ‘Cry Me A River’ by Julie London.


I’d like to have her laugh / Which erupts like a broken hose / Fixing at the wrong time, or his shoulders / Which people love to lay their head on. (from The Party by Sinéad O’Reilly)

In dizzy rooms awash with eyes of green,

The air is smoke, the water something pink,

And I whose shoulder people love to lean

Their heads on might not be what they think.

My silken hair is wrought with curls of fire,

Will promise bliss for those who catch my eye,

For rumours single touches drive desire

Wild, they’re true, it’s true I make them cry.

They hover drunk in swarms towards my scent

(Chanel, almost) to lap from fountains gold

Which feed my font of honeyed truth, and lent

As if by Gods, or Lucifer, to whom I sold my soul.

I see myself in cigarettes and yearn.

Oh God, oh Christ, oh fuck, oh fuck, I burn.


The truth finds me, the truth loves me. Pilgrim,

You haven’t the gold for the truths I’ve told,

Couldn’t handle that which hides behind lies of old.

The grass unloads its griefs upon my feet

As if I am God, its prickling a prayer. Not

God but O gold-winged messenger of mighty Gods.

My fables float towards the gates of heav’n.

Saint Pete panics, unsure of what to make

Of me, he who knows more of worlds than deity.

Thunder follows lustrous footprints in my wake,

For I have awoken the malevolent king, I,

Teller of tales, I, the Creator’s greatest mistake.

O God-Drop

I crave, kill pain, gift faith to soulless sentience.

This fleshy stack of muscles, veins, and nerves

Will praise your healing works, your little miracles.

O plastic capsule, globule, God-orb, God-ball

Who’s eucharistic in the act of feigning lifelessness,

I beg, I pray to you to numb the burning nerves.

And while you wield a lethal dynamism

Disguised beneath benevolent guise,

I know, I know, I cannot help but think,

Be haunted by the years before your birth,

Before Asclepius, his snakes in extremis,

When all there was was hurt and hurt breathed.