Cartoon, Poetry

Sleepy Bob

by Noah S. Adhikari The silliest poem I have ever made Wakey wakey, that same routine,‘Oh, wake up Sleepy Bob’He sleeps like a koala…‘No thank you mom’ This is how sleepy Bob takes a shower Isn’t it funny? ‘Get up, Bob,’ she says This is how sleepy Bob eats, He needs a soft seatAnd worst […]

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College

Your Peer Supporters

by Oriel College Peer Supporters You might remember hearing about Peer Supporters in Freshers’s Week, but that was ages ago – and even worse if you’re not a Fresher! So, here is a reminder. What are Peer Supporters? We are volunteer students, just like you, who have been trained by the Counselling Service to be […]

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Prose

Goodnight, Sleep Well

by M. Davies (College Porter) [CW: corporal punishment] Before prayers at Friday’s house assembly, my name had been called; I was being summoned to be ‘on the carpet’. So, after the assembly, we would change for bed, but I would be having to answer for my misconduct before the House Master. The announcement was often […]

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Poetry

Growing Sleepy

by Siddiq Islam Dare I recline?I grow much too sleepyAnd human designIs too weak to keep meFrom downwardly driftingTo dreams buried deep,The loads of life liftingIn velvety sleep. Dare I lie down?My dark eyes are sinkingAnd temptations drownAll weaker-willed thinking.Succumbing to slumber,My soft, calm mistake.I must not plunge under.I must stay awake.

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Humour, Prose

Dear Beary … [12]

by Beary McBearface Beary McBearface, treasured Oriel mascot and JCR staple, is here to help you with your troubles. In this column, Beary will attempt to find solutions to your little college worries; trust him, he’s seen it all. To contact him, all you have to do is emailthepoorprint@oriel.ox.ac.uk with the subject line ‘Dear Beary’. […]

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Comment, Prose

The Illusion of Institution

by Monim Wains Institutions have always been interesting to me. There is a realisation that I have had as I have gotten older: they don’t actually exist, do they? As an undergraduate with barely two decades of life under my belt, you might already be switching away from this article, wondering what on earth I […]

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Poetry

The King of Applause

by Siddiq Islam The King needs to hear the extent of his power,So crams to the corners his grand vestibuleWith columns of courtiers, whom every sixth hour,He orders applause from to honour his rule. But crowds often tend to start clapping in tandem,Which lessens the roar of a self-crafted fandom.The cheers must sound full, and […]

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Prose

Aptitude Test for Dyslexics

by M. Davies (College Porter) Sadly, it was never dyslexics who wrote the rules in education, but thankfully it is for Porters to interpret and enforce them in Oxford’s colleges. My school’s ‘Career Aptitude Test’ sticks out in my memory (information gathered on a complex form type questionnaire). The top three recommended professions that came […]

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Artwork, Poetry

Horrid Henry’s Silly Poem

by Noah S. Adhikari Horrid Henry is a silly naughty, silly boy.Perfect Peter is the nice cry baby for real – you will find out later!Moody Margaret is Henry’s worst neighbour everrr! Horrid Henry is silly as a dog.Perfect Peter, nice as a seahorse, cries as a little baby.Moody Margaret is bossy as a cat, […]

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Culture, Prose, Reviews

Persephone: A Review

by Monim Wains [CW: mentions of mental illness, sexual violence, and miscarriage] A classic tale rewritten with lucid modern lyrics, sung fantastically throughout. That was a fun evening. Persephone is a story that has probably brought many a classicist to tears, with origins far back in Ancient Greece. But Emma Hawkins’s writing brings the story […]

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Creative Writing, Prose

In a Fairytale

by Monim Wains I can see the lights around me, sparkly and bright. And there is glitter on the trees, little fireflies flickering in the wind. Music and colour fill the scene no matter where I look. Here and there, giants curl over steaming hot drinks, smiling and laughing, all their noses bright pink. I […]

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Poetry

F***ing Magic

by Siddiq Islam The whole wide world and all its space,With every land and ocean each,And in between, the brazen beach,The forests green in all their grace,The open fields and hilltops high,And miles and miles of boundless sky. Is this some twisted sorcerer’s scoff,Or are you just here to piss me off?All that space, the […]

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Comment, Prose

Chicken in a Nightmare

by M. Davies (College Porter) [CW: homophobia] Fred Bickerton started at University College as an Under Scout (more specifically as ‘under bedmaker’) in 1897 and retired as Head Porter in 1950. I thought the following may be of interest from his published memoirs. When Fred first started in the Porters’ Lodge as an ‘under-porter’, he […]

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Creative Writing, Prose

Lens of Love

by Madeline Dougherty ’Look, there, the way the sunset peeks between those buildings? Isn’t it beautiful?’ Her excitement, awe, is infectious. It would be impossible to disagree, but I look to where she’s pointing anyway. My breath catches in my throat – the sunset isn’t just beautiful, it is stunning. The sky all around is […]

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Humour, Prose

Dear Beary … [11]

by Beary McBearface Beary McBearface, treasured Oriel mascot and JCR staple, is here to help you with your troubles. In this column, Beary will attempt to find solutions to your little college worries; trust him, he’s seen it all. To contact him, all you have to do is emailthepoorprint@oriel.ox.ac.uk with the subject line ‘Dear Beary’. […]

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Comment, Prose

A Word from the Editors: Magic

by Monim Wains What sets magic apart – what makes something magical – is the surprise, I would suggest. It is the revelation of something hidden and unexpected, without any explanation for why it is so. And our reaction, good or bad, depends on what we know, and where the magic remains. When we are […]

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Poetry

good to be back

by Siddiq Islam turn off the george and there he is,that clumsy git with his smiling gob,and i can’t help mirror my smile to his, the satellite arms of that doughnut duffer,come on mate, don’t be a knob,i bury my hug in his pembroke puffer, and a textless, snapless, three-month vacmelts away. a two-tick job.and […]

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Poetry

On Returning to a Poem Written Several Years Ago

by Joe Lever I find the words in some way different nowTo how I left them – changed, as if one nightA room once known had been rewrought somehow,Familiar but altered. No, not quite: Home stayed as it was left – and I had changedBy increments and instants, now estrangedFrom words I know but do […]

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Creative Writing, Prose

The Cottage Looked Over the Graveyard

by Samuel Skuse I. Long drive home. Roads blur into hours. I pull over twice for coffee but I’m not really tired, just bored. Roads blur into hours. I said that already.  A name comes sharply into focus on an approaching road sign. A warmly smiling face in the crowd, the only face that makes […]

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Culture, Prose, Reviews

Returning to Battles Past

by M. Davies (College Porter) Postponed due to the pandemic from the 7th to the 31st of October, a new play, Into Battle, is to make its first stage appearance at the Greenwich Theatre, London. Written by Hugh Salmon, Into Battle tells the true story of a student feud that took place within Balliol College, […]

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Artwork, Cartoon, Poetry

A New Uniform for the Year

by Monim Wains My adventure began with wet October days.A cap and gown in hand, walking around in a daze. What was I to do at this new place, with all it masses of tradition?After years of hard work, the result of unhealthy ambition? But no, this was mine, to take, to make my own.Off […]

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Poetry

The Blue Flowerpot

by Samuel Skuse A stranger lives in the house I grew up in.I don’t know why I didn’t expect thatBut I didn’t. Just like I didn’t expect them to have redecorated,Remodelled,Removed everything I remembered. Except a blue flowerpot,Perched on the windowsill like a patient catWaiting for its owner to come home. I remember my mum […]

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Poetry

Worms

by Siddiq Islam Caught on the end of the fisherman’s line,Wriggling and tensing and flailing around,Pecked at and flaked by the sharp sharks who dine,Shredding away in the hunting ground, Drying in the sun on the grey, gravel road,Washed from the earth in the heavy storm’s rains,Hearing Death’s calls as the strict heat unloads,Awaiting relief […]

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Poetry

dreaming spires

by Anonymous the sunset yawns its golden arching fingertipsacross the sandstone, and my heart achesfor the sound of church bells in the morning, as the plosive clattering of rush-hour ignitesinto symphony, hubbub, life in the centre of Oxford.the tolls of the bells, spires conspiring, spiralling upwards,the tolls of the bells, in this city of chapels,bird-calls […]

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Prose

Every Beginning Has an End

by Michael Angerer Every end is a new beginning, they say. I have always found that a little ominous – as if there was something not quite right about accepting an ending for what it is, as if we imperatively had to hasten on to the next chapter with no space for pause or respite. […]

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Poetry

Kheturus’ Orchards

by Siddiq Islam Each Sunday, in the heat of August,Baba lets me off the farm,So up the hill I disappear.The parching sunbeams keep me calmAnd make the town below look gorgeous. We meet outside Kheturus’ orchards,Climb the wall and ramble through.Everything’s so real, so clear,On August Sundays, there with you.We lock our arms and wander […]

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Poetry

Footsteps

by David A. Light-footed wanderer treading the faint path Of times uncertain, moments force through you  Impatiently like a half-hearted laugh Passing before the poor punchline is due. Determined traveller walking to no end  Left-right left-Right, uneven pulsing steps,  Withdrawing precious hours ahead to spend Then stumbling all too soon on thorny debts. Brave warrior, […]

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Creative Writing, Prose

Out of the Jungle

by Monim Wains Weeds and vines caught  his ankles as he trudged through the undergrowth. He needed to stay quiet, unseen and unheard, but it was too difficult to slow his breathing. He panted and grunted through every step, drowning in the heat. The air had baked his lips dry and hard, but his skin […]

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Poetry

Restriction

by Siddiq Islam Inside the trunk of every tree,Within each rock and each closed shell,Behind the foreheads that I see,Are chambers where I cannot dwell. No skyward path can I sustain,– but neither can I breach the floor.I’m grounded to this surface plane.I’m bounded in by Nature’s law, And in the homestead, bounded still.Built walls, […]

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Poetry

Relocated

by Anonymous I was carried away in a green and grey chariotfaster than lightning at the break of dawn, fasterthan the years that were to age us.  [motorising distance into something fluid, two hundred miles was mobile, a mere matterof eight hours or so with stops in-between, it seemsthat we lost and shed our smog soaked […]

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Comment, Prose

The Optimisation Mindset

by Martin Yip Which do you prefer: apples or oranges? Suppose you had two pounds to spend on oranges and apples, eache priced at 40p. What would you do, assuming the money cannot be saved for later? Microeconomics studies, among other things, this sort of question that concerns consumer behaviour. It models consumption as an […]

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Poetry

President of the Month

by Siddiq Islam Apparently, I was insensitive.The people shout – they wholly disapprove!A head cannot be representativeOf body parts that will not with it move, And I have been decapitated hence.Detached, disclaimed, denounced, denied and shut.I quit my quarters, only stares to senseUpon the head which has become the butt.

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Poetry

A Broadcast from Earth

by Monim Wains Hello, dear traveller!I come in peace, rest assured,Can you hear me? Can you see me?I have a message for you onboard… We know what it looks like,All the division and despair,Our humble blue marblein a climate of disrepair. Our streets are hauntingly quiet,A pandemic is left unbound,All the questions have no answers;There […]

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Poetry

Pressure

by Anonymous Tick, tock. Tick, tock.Three hours till the deadline. (It’s not really a deadline – you know your tutor won’t look at your sputterings until at least tomorrow morning,but it’s an arbitrary point in time by which you need An unattainable coherenceWith original sophisticationAnd a whole heap of formatting to prove Your fumes aren’t just the thoughts […]

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Poetry

The Butterflies

by Siddiq Islam Close your tired eyes.Listen to the butterfliesTantrumming about. Their great cymbal wingsCrash upon your worryings.Time to let them out. Unscrew your top and see them flitter,Seething, teeming, hateful, bitter.They flounce and fluctuate. But now inhale and watch them pale.They start to fret, and flare and flail.And when you let your held breath […]

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College, Prose

Cometh the Moment

by M. Davies (College Porter) The 7th of March 1949 is when it happened. See the photos and the man of the moment: Mr. Percy G. Sheppard – Oriel’s Head Porter from 1927 until he retired due to ill health in 1956.  If the room in the photos doesn’t look familiar to you, sadly at […]

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Poetry

Your Virus

by Siddiq Islam all packaged inlike loo rolls on shop shelvesawaiting the death tollsto die out themselvesrunning the streetsis a wild bloodhound viciousto whom human neverdid taste more delicious all packaged inand all packaged outamazon cannotdeliver me nowfrom thirsty impatiencefrom growingly direand blatant desire– i am so desirous all packaged inand too long without youin […]

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Poetry

Three Births

by Kate Whittington She was born in September, attractedButterflies at the end of a damp summer.Could not tolerate drought. The doctor saidThat her bones were radically arranged.This meant stethoscope, or cutting very gently. Without women, bloodWas a ring of ecstasy. The fatherLaboured to black markThe arm, wet the dark scalp, putCold cloth between the legs. […]

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Poetry, Prose

The Itch

by Monim Wains There is a fingernail scratching. Sharp edges carving lines in the back of your skull. Screeching chalk on a blackboard until you press your eyes shut. Not so quick, as it picks and picks at the wound. The scab has been itching from the womb. It is a birthmark, cruel and latching. […]

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