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 acumeneditor@gmail.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 You should be aged between 16 and 25 years, the work should be unpublished. 

More information about submitting your poetry

Sidney Lawson

Sidney Lawson

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.


Coda

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.

Emily Riley

Emily Riley

till dawn do us part

late night kisses behind closed doors
no one has to know
you’re mine for the night
unwavering devotion

you write novels on my skin
then tear them to pieces leaving me
severed and shattered
your beautiful work destroyed

no one has to know
whispering poetry in my ears
till dawn do us part
you’re mine for the night


i don’t love him

“i don’t love him,” she says
“you were all that ever mattered”
met with only a blank stare
the damage has been done


Mango

A man selling mangoes approaches me on the street. His
steps are light like him, made of bone and not much else.
The cash in my pocket suddenly burns me, making me
jump. The man does not ask if I’m okay. “Mango?” he asks
me, more excited about fruit than he needs to be. I pull out
my cash, burning my hand but offering relief to my leg,
still stinging. I crave the relief of a cool mango. I’ve never
liked mangoes. But the man is bone and my leg is still
burning so I hand him the burning money and he is
unaffected. He hands me a ripe mango and it is cool. I slip
it in my pocket, sighing, and the man looks confused, but
does not say anything. I never eat the mango, letting it only
heal the burns on my leg.

More Young Poets

Jane Yarnell

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...

Innes Manders

Too quiet to be silence Meet me in the wilderness, Sweet unrelenting quietness, That found me softly and left me bliss, A peacefulness I won’t dismiss. Too quiet to be silence. And when the wind stops, we stop. Won’t risk the moment for words, but if to whisper,...