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 […]

Read more
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 […]

Read more
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. […]

Read more
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 […]

Read more
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, […]

Read more
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 […]

Read more
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, […]

Read more
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 […]

Read more
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 […]

Read more
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.

Read more
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 […]

Read more
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 […]

Read more
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 […]

Read more
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 […]

Read more
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. […]

Read more
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. […]

Read more
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 […]

Read more
Artwork, College, Prose

Double Standards, Doubled

by M. Davies (College Porter) Oriel clearly had a part in this story, as did my grandfather: Reverend Reginald Trevor Davies, now best known for being a college Don with various published historical works and twice voted into the role of University Senior Proctor. He was called Rex by his friends and family. Mary Davies […]

Read more
Poetry

To Lie in the Dirt and To Slowly Decay

by Siddiq Islam To lie in the dirt and to slowly decay!A prospect more noble than all other things.The righteous career of corroding away,A subject of earthworms, the Underground Kings. I see your grand temples, with such great potentialTo topple and crumble to dust when they fall,But hanker for something more experiential –I too should […]

Read more
Comment, Prose

Minimalism: A Remedy for Chaos

by Martin Yip Life can be chaotic. It certainly has been in the past year, not least due to COVID-19. Students and workers alike have faced greater challenges to their mental health as they grapple with the new realities and rules that the virus has necessitated, in addition to their ordinary sources of stress and […]

Read more
Creative Writing, Prose

The Mission

by Monim Wains [CW: mild offensive language] There was a red hatchback on the motorway, almost standing still. It was sticky-hot in the driver’s seat. I had turned on the fan, but there isn’t much that it can do when the air it blows in is even hotter. The traffic wasn’t helping, inching along bit […]

Read more
Poetry

Shadows of the Evening

by David A Before the numberless starry orbs up highLooked on me, silent prisoner of the hour,Unblinking as if sleep should hold no powerPatiently shielding me from morning nighThe sky was bright, too warm a burning smile,And in that grave minute when the deep blue Gave way to ashen frowns, I wish I knewWhat moved across […]

Read more
Poetry

An Invitation to Abandon

by Siddiq Islam I Upon my door a little knock.I hardly even hear it, yetSome people whom I’ve barely metAre asking if I’ll join their flock,Accompany their mutual travelsTo where their night unwinds and ravels. But each new tale and anecdoteReminds me of the soft deceaseOf memories I must release,And each fresh lady I devoteSacred […]

Read more
Creative Writing, Prose

The Man in the Hat

by Monim Wains I looked up across the carriage at the man in the hat, swaying from side to side with the travel of the train. The rolling rumble of the wheels on the tracks screeched beneath the city. There was a breeze through the window, but it was stale. Dust and darkness carried through […]

Read more
Poetry

It Has To Do With Silver Nitrate

bi Lily Parmar It began from a notion of object impermanence; it has to do With silver nitrate. It has to do with exposure: A sheet waits quietly in the dark and for becoming Vulnerable for a split second, less—It says it can keep what I saw.  As a machine, it exists solelyOn impermanence.  I took a photo of […]

Read more
Comment, Prose

Familiar Strangers

by Martin Yip Strangers come in many types. The usual understanding of ‘stranger’ refers to people with whom you’ve never interacted. People whose existence don’t matter much to you. There is another type: people whose paths barely have crossed yours, like two straight lines which intersect at one point and go on their separate paths, […]

Read more
Comment, Poetry, Prose

Pondering an Ending Spring

by ‘Siddiq Islam’ Maybe the golden peal of summer flowers,The friends of God and earth, are formed to fall,A fire in some great coming spring of snow. Your dream was but a passionate loneliness,Broken as the sweet noon of morning light.Your fate is closed in a wrathThat flowers upon the fervour of the night. Transcending […]

Read more
Comment, Prose

A Word from the Editors: Strangers

by Monim Wains What is life but a string of fibres tied from you to some stranger, perhaps momentarily intertwined? What is life but the tangling of those threads into the tapestry of your memories? Were we not all strangers to this world on the day when we were born? From that day on, we […]

Read more
College, Prose

Our Name

by M. Davies (‘Oriel’ Lodge Porter) If you look at how we got our name, nowhere does it mention the Porters. We all lose from that if the Porters play an important part in the story. After all, non-academic staff are all part of this institution too. Official college literature says our name “Oriel” (now […]

Read more
Poetry

Insides Torn

by A. M. Wains There is a dissonance in me, A ringing, deep and beating,A bell that sings in my head, clangingloud and overwhelming,Vibrations throbbing through my skull –vision blurred –mind rattled – In the silence. In the quiet calm alone of the dark,In the witching hour before my sleep I am awake. In the […]

Read more
Prose

Captain Kirk’s Dilemma

by Martin Yip Among the many scientific innovations in the Star Trek universe is the transporter. Transporters move people or objects from one place to another in a matter of seconds within a range of thousands of kilometers. How it works is the person (or object) is first ‘dematerialized’ from matter into an energy pattern, […]

Read more
Poetry

Identity Thief

by Siddiq Islam No, officer, I can’t relateTheir stature or their height or weightOr sex or skin or what they woreOr what they used to break the door,But they must have found it satisfyingTo watch their rod or crowbar pryingInto refuge from the winter,To watch the midnight door frame splinter.Through the halls and to my […]

Read more
Poetry

Doctors, Firefighters, Crowns

by Anonymous When I was very young, I didn’t have a dream job.Some people in my class wanted to be firefightersSome doctors, some monarchsI could never see myself running into the fireNor could I see myself prescribing pillsA palace could never be my home. When I was just young, I didn’t have a dream lifestyle.Some […]

Read more
Poetry

Old Friends

by Anonymous we were, if I might say, a match made in hell. fiery passions of youthful ignorance, of grandiose ambition, pure chaos, recklessness the oblivion of nights without ends. we existed, always, solely, on borrowed time. this infatuation comes without warning, fleeting, like a gush of wind, amidst the sweltering summer heat – potential […]

Read more
Prose

No Place Like Home

by Michael Angerer So here we go – after months of staying at home, staying alert, and preferably both, we’re back. Back in our little term-time homes away from home. For some, the change will be less jarring than for others. After all, lockdown is excellent training for the monastic lifestyle that characterises the modern […]

Read more
Poetry

My Absent Fingers

by Siddiq Islam The numb, stale air and the spiders’ feet,Cannot disrupt this human flour,This dead snow, this organic sleetThat softens the shelves where it starts to flower,And my absent fingers cannot sweepThe dust from where the spiders sleep, Nor the dust off the troops who, without bookend,Are made to kneel, by weight shoved down.Their […]

Read more
Creative Writing, Poetry

St. Anthony in the Wilderness

by Fanxi Liu I had intended to write about language, twisting together the various strands of my degree and eclectic personal interests into a modern monstrosity that reads as if it had been processed through the digestive system of a very sick cat. Coy, cryptic sideways-glances at complex philosophical concepts with impressive institutional pedigrees, with […]

Read more
Comment, Prose

There is a Place for You

by Martin Yip When the coronavirus pandemic first hit the UK in March, I hastily left the country and returned home. My family decided that I should quarantine for fourteen days. During those days, I was confined to one room, where I would eat, work, and sleep, and one bathroom which no one else would […]

Read more
College, Prose

Dear Beary … [10]

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. All you need to do is email thepoorprint@oriel.ox.ac.uk with the subject line ‘Dear Beary’, and if you’re lucky […]

Read more
Comment, Prose

Reflection

by Anonymous When I was younger, I preferred to look forward to the future rather than reflect. Every New Year’s Eve I would diligently write my resolutions for the year ahead. Common occurrences included ‘learn how to do the splits’ and ‘get long hair’, their repeated appearances are a testament to my inability to reflect. […]

Read more
Comment, Prose

Reflecting on oak trees

by Harriet Strahl Two old oaks frame the entrance to a graveyard in a village somewhere in Germany. A sign nearby tells visitors about the history of the graveyard, which contains the headstones of the local Jewish family deported during the Third Reich, carefully restored next to a stone commemorating the local dissenter, who was […]

Read more
Poetry

There is a man in the wall

by Monim Wains I’m alone, I think. Or at least, I should be. The door is locked, the window closed. The air is still, quiet. The only noise is the slow, soft, fall of my breath. I am alone, safe. But those eyes, those eyes in the wall. They follow me. Everywhere I look, everything […]

Read more
Humour

by Lily Parmar 1. Do you usually remember your dreams when you wake up? (Y / N) 2. Do you keep a “dream journal”? (Y / N) 3. Do you have a recurring dream? (Y / N) 4. Is it a recurring nightmare? (Y / N) 5. If you have a recurring dream, is it […]

Read more