Young Poets

Published here are some of the excellent poems we receive from our gifted young writers.

You can submit poems either by post (please enclose a stamped address envelope for reply), via our on-line portal, or by email to Please mark the contents ‘Young Poet Submission’, put this in the subject line if you are submitting by email, and put your name, age and address on each page of the submission.

Please submit no more than four poems. You should be aged between 16 and 25 years, the work should be unpublished. 

More information about submitting your poetry

Robin Kathaas

Robin Kathaas

Ha Long

Something as mountainous as a mountain ought not to have a shadow

shivering on the waters. It is too obvious

a lie. When their father falls, the shadows will not survive. Like many of us,

they are already teetering on the border

of what is real and what we wish

was there. The motor of the boat

makes me nauseous not because it moves but because it feels too close

to the blades of a helicopter hovering above

a city with its searchlights open wide like the wings of a butterfly wanting

nothing more than to have its say in things it does not understand.

The guide tells me that this sea is not a sea, but

that is a technicality. Anything this large is a sea,

including a helicopter, a mountain, a blade, or

a mouth tracing the scars that the water has left

on the serrated bottoms of the rocks. There used to be more to them,

but just like everything around them they grew old

and the sea began to look less like a sea and more

like a technicality. Even so, all day they look

at their shadows, denying their fear but not their mass.

The Great Greenland Shark: Timeless.

When I was thirteen years old the Ancient Greeks took me

to the cave that had stopped being a cave

when they told it to be a miracle and it, like an unburdened puppy,

sat up and listened

before speaking. Now it was my turn

to fit the impossible in my mouldy coat pocket.

I stepped into the toothy maw of the beastly boulder and saw:

a greenland shark, swimming in my breath.

It stank. I had brought coins and incense, but I suspected

my ancestors of pouring out their gratitude from below.

Eager to be different, I spoke. I was young,

and if I hadn’t been impressionable I wouldn’t have been there,

wouldn’t have been here, wouldn’t have done anything at all, let alone

been capable of understanding that great greenland shark.

Away, it swam, and it took my breath with it.

For the first few months after my visit, I thanked it

every morning when I woke, out loud.

Then, winter came, and I saw the shapes my breath formed

on the window of the world.

I stopped showering, and stank.

I stopped talking, and grew moss.

I stopped thinking, and swam,

out, into the earth.

Angelin Lee

Angelin Lee


i. Foundation

Layers, cracking:

You will get good grades

get into a prestigious university


get a masters, maybe a PhD

You must become a doctor or a lawyer or an engineer

or what am I going to tell Jason-who-went-to-Harvard’s mom?

that my daughter chose to be a nurse instead?

Your foundation lies in that you work hard

so your parents’ immigration to the States

won’t have been wasted

on a daughter

(even if it was their choice)

ii. Concealer

Violet lethargy blooms under tired eyes

All nighters in exchange for a 4.0 GPA

Three hours of sleep so you pop adderall

(is it worth it? Yes.)

What’s the use of taking Biology if you can’t fix your body?

To conceal. At least when you’re studying you can’t think too hard

about the bumps blemishing your forehead , breakouts

from Monster energy drinks and black coffee

One meal a day

If you don’t get into college you’re worth nothing, you know?

I know.

Tears—heaven’s rain—dampen your cheeks

So you cover them up with concealer two shades lighter

than your skin

will seem healthy, glow—

You study.

iii. Eyeliner

Eyeliner changes everything, you’ve heard

If eyes are windows to the soul then maybe you should at least make yours pretty.

Your eyes tell the truth, scream!

With eyeliner maybe you’ll no longer have

your mother’s almond-shaped eyes

if you line them dark enough

maybe you’ll be able to make friends

that aren’t from China and don’t assume you speak broken English

even though you’ve won writing awards

And kids at school won’t pull their eyes into slits and stick their tongues out,


iv. Blush

Pale pink chrysanthemum petals

Champagne infused cheeks

Felicity layered on enough it won’t seem like you’re yellow everywhere;

that you do have colour, aurora

—that you are Pretty.

Butterfly wings flutter in spring

bubbly with laughter

and the picture is idyllically beautiful

(or is it?)

v. Lipstick

Vermillion shades illusion

mixed with sanguine opulence

Persephone’s pomegranate seeds stain, red

Bold, Alluring. demure

Speak up. Speak louder. We can’t hear you.


Lips too thin, small, cupid’s bow? No.

Overline them. And fill in the gaps

with scarlet crayon.

So you will be able to better communicate—

Stand straight.

vi. Smile

The last and most important step of makeup

is to wear a smile

Not too big so that too much of your teeth show too much

Just a little…perfect! Be (un)natural.

Confidence, they say, is key

Wear one for others if nothing else

But your smile is a mask

and no matter how hard you try

Masks shatter too

You are lost without one


What are you doing?

Don’t let the tears fall or it’ll ruin your hard work!


Keep your mask on even as the layers threaten to crack.

More Young Poets

Lily Finch

David and Goliath Story So you, unperturbed, let me weep on your marvellous stomach– hallowed ground, ribbed by the sleeping mounds of nested muscles– and when I am done, wrung out, washed in, belly-up on the sand like a beached jelly, you gift me a Stanley Hammer:...

Michael Liu

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Ella Pheasant

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Sidney Lawson

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Audrey Hunter

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Saul Grenfell

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Sidney Lawson

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Charlotte Lebedeker

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Daphne Harris

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Florence Grieve

The Bristol hum I’m looking for the secret portal where the air quivers above the grass because I want to get away from here from the place where emotions are berocca dissolved in the white wine served with dinner, swallowed with our plates of macaroni cheese and...

Isaac Cude

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Tricia Tan

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Emily VanPelt

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Liberty Price

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