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 email@example.com. 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 You should be aged between 16 and 25 years, the work should be unpublished.
Rain and cheer
Innocence darted through streets alone,
hair dancing in the rush of it
amid dense smells and bids and cumin and saffron
little lungs a-panting.
Now, with top button stiffly done,
greying hair flattened and combed.
Through split roads, with rain and cheer,
he puts out a foot, heel-toe, heel-toe;
His breath quickens as he wonders.
Is this trembling hand,
with pageantry and sword,
the same as the hand those years ago,
pinching dates and syrup, from angry sellers,
little lungs a-panting?
two hundred and forty-nine
we’ve been waiting for you
hanging snug up in there for months
we chose from dozens of flats
all for you
self-help books read
obs + gynae
flashes of blue
and the rubbing of plastic gloves
we had a room
stained blue curtain
made you a cot
bit of a diy fanatic
quite sweet really
excess plywood trimmed
with licks of paint
for a mobile so your little eyes
could stare and gaze
only green paint was left
so the lambs look a little poorly
but i’m sure you won’t mind;
drowned in panic
but i promise
through hands squeezing
and cramps wheezing
now packing your books up
off to somewhere else
to gather dust
and god knows what we’ll do
with the bloody puree
god i envy your naivety
i can’t do this
why do i even
the internet says that
two hundred and fifty
why did you have to be the one
The First Affair
I rinse my hands of the way your skin felt,
Brush my teeth thinking of how you tasted.
The soap’s scent is reminiscent of your
Intense fragrance, something I won’t forget
In a hurry. I remember the sight
Of you in that red dress, the slight gasps you
Made as my fingers danced up the knuckles
Of your spine. Do you recall the way you
Whined as we made this bed a spinning world
Of sweat and kisses and love? – Do you not
Think about what we carved out of this life
Together? Now as I lay here with her,
Tall clouds darkening above the towns we
Danced in, places my wife never went to,
I fear your face is fading from my thoughts –
I fear you were just the first in my den of lies.
Listen. This deathbed’s bedsheets reek of piss.
You kiss my wrists and feel my heart’s arrhythmic beat.
You weep. I laugh. Distantly, I can hear
Music. All’s left is memories of melodies –
I remember the crescendo of your new-born
Shriek, the way the chords progressed until you dribbled
Prose at my feet, rose, soprano, contralto, verse,
Vibrato, staccato… This sudden cadence
Seems unfair, but what’s worst is your wordless
Goodbyes, performed with piano arpeggios,
And heard through distant shrouded hallway cries –
And the knowing – You’ll love me while the beat dies.
More Young Poets
Folding Ennui I saw a man do it once. I was standing on the cobblestones, The smell of rain still in the air. His long fingers scored the paper Like knives. He made the hours Into a little swan, And watched it flutter away. I made mine into a clock, And set it...
Fictional females I’m not that woman whose silence you praise behind the cover of your book. Who will wait for you, late, with a warm bed, a static smile and an amnesic morning. I’m not that woman who forgives every slip of temper, Who cradles every slap you blow and...
golden hour The kids are out of school, flappingtheir coats around, attempting teenagewingspan, spinning as if they would leavea trail of feathers behind them. They’re competingwith the screeching of Canadian geeseand swans who finally reclaimthe water from the...
Garden (for Joan Lawson) You are my opus,My valuable,My green-thumbed work. As rainbow-producingHose sprays of aquaScatter your greenery, Your beauty becomesObvious to me.When I litter little seeds — Or pull weeds from thePermeable soilIn your dominion — Or watch...
An Announcement: ‘Come here,’ my father had said. His brow was a weathered headstone. The sofa was soft beside him. Worn and stained and comfortable The words jolted and scratched out of his mouth. A machine breaking down but still running. Sentence by sentence, his...
Braemar I wanted this new start. To appear to others as something different. I think part of me, and this makes me feel a bit sick to admit, was drawn to starting a job as a psych nurse, as I knew I would be around people who were ‘clinically confused’- they had an...
Dragonflies Dragonflies are playing on the terrace; the pools reflect back jade-green and gold. Each one casts its gleam on the other. And if you asked me to describe the scene, I’d kiss you on the forehead and say never, for what is the use of this empty talk; Better...
The Umbrian Hound Behind You Turn left, you’ll reach the highs of life Turn right, you’ll meet the lows. For the mean old hound who bays and howls Sees all and, limping, follows. On crossroad one you’ll stumble, On crossroad two you’ll pause, But as long as you keep...
Dreamworks The boy on the moon is fishing, his shape slumped on the crescent. His feet dangle from the ledge, as he casts the rod. It hits the water with a plop. I want to ask him what he catches before the film starts. I’m wondering if that blue pool contains the...
Lemon A man threw a lemon into the air And caught it up, on a February afternoon. It was unseasonable: he didn’t care. The air smelled of flowers and the day-wrong moon – Or the woman-in-front’s expensive scent: It was all one. There was a brightness to the hour That...
La Lune In a tumble of luminescence You spill from the sky as though Made of nacre - crystalline crescents That ribbon from La Lune. Like a phantom, you opalesce against the late-night, Like a voyeur, you prowl- Through the rose sense of past and night-frosted glass,...
This is Not a Mobile Phone It is me escaping never being in love with a girl or always being made fun of in school because of an ugly mole on my nose by becoming Harry Potter or Pennywise the Clown or Tarzan under my night-blanket with my eyes trained on the screen,...
Remember the Golden Days You gave me faith, trust and pixie dust To every day we were together. Now I must search for it myself The world is not all pleasant weather. There’s no more pain now You must be lighter on your feet now You don’t need an umbrella in the rain...
First Kisses My first first kiss was drunk and sloppy, two awkward mouths pressed into acrylic paint smears and shame, shame afterwards for the shallowness. My second first kiss was delicate, like the still dusk of sunlight through curtains. She leaned her face down...
Saturday A day of joyful, straightforward creation, preparation for the week ahead. bread and jam for the week and lamb curry for lunch fill the kitchen with thick scents and gentle messages “I want you here” “I love you” “I appreciate you” The evening looms large in...