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
Comment, Prose

Finding the Rainbow Connection

by Martin Yip ‘Rainbow Connection’ is the opening song of the 1979 film The Muppet Movie, performed by Kermit the Frog. Kermit’s laid-back performance did not prevent his song from inspiring generations of viewers over the years, as it contains a profound message of optimism and empowerment that will resonate for years to come. Why […]

Read more
Humour, Prose

Dear Beary … [9]

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
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
Prose

You’ll still be happy

by Monim Wains How do people become… great? What do you mean? Someone special, y’know? Someone who’s made a difference to the world. Famous? No, not necessarily. I just… I want to do something different, worthwhile. Like what? … I don’t really know. I don’t think it matters even, as long as it makes a […]

Read more
Humour, Prose

‘Dear Beary…’ [8]

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

Commonplace Insanity

by Martin Yip Insanity tends to be more salient in the mind than sanity. After all, being sane seems to be the default and thus unworthy of comment; any significant deviation from this default, however, merits attention. When Taiwanese basketball player Jeremy Lin took the NBA by storm in 2012, the phenomenon was dubbed ‘Linsanity’. […]

Read more
Prose

Introspection

by Martin Yip ‘Have I told you about my egg?’ asked my counsellor, in the middle of a session.  “No,” I said.  My counsellor took out a piece of paper and drew an egg-shaped oval. She then drew a horizontal line across the middle of the oval. She wrote the words “reason” and “emotion” in […]

Read more
Comment, Prose

Stardust

by Samanwita Sen In the grand scheme of the universe, all we will ever amount to is just that. Stardust. You could have the highest statute of honour attached to your name, or you could be the stranger that meticulously walks down the same alleyway at the same time every morning – regardless, our existences, […]

Read more
Creative Writing, Prose

The End [4/4]

by Leo Gillard Yes, it was the end. But was it a triumph? The whole city was alight, though not literally. That was the fate of cities elsewhere, but not here. The war, that long, seven years of conflict, had come to an end, and the city was full of celebration. Citizens and returning soldiers […]

Read more
Creative Writing, Prose

An Address

by Monim Wains The muddied ground sagged with the weight of weary legs. Dazed bodies stumbled around, groaning and aching, trying not to trip over the lumps in the soup of soil beneath their feet. It was too dark and wet to tell what they were stepping through; the huddle of the melee had left […]

Read more
Prose

Difference [3/4]

by Leo Gillard There was, Pan noticed, someone watching them from across the street. Tall, muscular, and probably very slightly over the age for military service. It was almost always people like that who caused trouble, so they weren’t surprised when the call came. ‘Coward!’ the voice called, from over the road, in a position […]

Read more
Comment, Prose

To Infinity and Beyond

by Martin Yip ‘Progress’ is one of those words like ‘peace’. Like peace, virtually everyone agrees that progress is desirable to have. Yet, like peace, there is no clear definition of what progress is, to the extent that many thoughts and actions may be justified on the grounds of a certain convenient definition of ‘progress’. […]

Read more
Comment, Prose

United

by Samanwita Sen One of the memories I look back upon fondly happens to be tucked away in the cozy little enclave of a bus seat, lit by the scintillating bobs that blurred outside as we drove past and the shadows of strangers bouncing off the window. I let myself fade into the lull of […]

Read more
Comment, Prose

Lines Must Be Drawn

by Martin Yip ‘Imagine there’s no countries / It isn’t hard to do / Nothing to kill or die for / And no religion too.’ So passionately sang John Lennon in Imagine. The imagery of peace and harmony was appealing: if only the physical and psychological barriers between people could come down, we would all […]

Read more
Creative Writing, Prose

Split [2/4]

by Leo Gillard On a normal day, Bel woke up when an alarm went off. Sometimes that alarm was just his alarm clock, sometimes it was the gas warning, sometimes a medication alert, sometimes a car on the street below or the house across the road, and sometimes it was an air raid alert. That […]

Read more
Comment, Prose

Border Maintenance

by Martin Yip Someone (in)famous once said that borders were very important. Millions of people were rushing across the border every day. They were bad, bad people. They commit so many crimes, tremendously many. They are a threat to security. So, he said, we must BUILD A WALL to protect the borders. Across the globe, […]

Read more
Creative Writing, Prose

Blurred Crayons

by Monim Wains Old crusted sand baked under the searing sun. Thin cracks stretched along the surface, marking allegiance, marking blood. Shadows loomed over the lines, walking with slow, heavy intent. Links of chain rattled in the quiet air, as they looked over the earth. They, the powerful. They, the inheritors. They, the nations. One […]

Read more
Creative Writing, Prose

One Year On [1/4]

by Leo Gillard Annie woke up to the sound of an emergency alert on her phone – the screen lit up, the ever familiar sound of an alarm played. The proximity of the strike was three miles, enough to justify hurrying everyone into the shelter at five in the morning. Normally those things were accurate, […]

Read more
Poetry, Prose

Midnight

by Monim Wains Midnight pulled their cloak over their head. Smooth black fur slid on slow, draped over shoulders. A resting weight hugged them down whole.  They floated on the grass, wispy tendrils stroked the ground beneath their toes. The grass swooned in slumber at the touch, eyes drooping at Midnight’s caress. Eyes dreamed, staring […]

Read more
Prose

A Not So Fresh Perspective

by Monim Wains Just last year, I sent in my first nervous attempt at writing for The Poor Print. I wrote about ‘A Fresh Perspective’, a reflection on freshers’ week of first year. Now, as an old and aging second year, I tap away in the library. My age is no longer ‘-teen’, my college […]

Read more
Comment, Prose

Pondering Plentiful Perspectives

by Martin Yip History is written by the victors, they say. I spent much of the past summer in two interesting locations – Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic, and Beijing, the capital of the People’s Republic of China (PRC). Both countries share a history of communist rule which are, interestingly enough, depicted from […]

Read more
Prose

Alive [4/4]

by Leo Gillard Arin realised, now, that things were going to be okay in the end. Maybe they would have always been fine. Maybe Kieran was always going to pull through and come out the other side. Maybe it only seemed like that now, when he had a different perspective. It did seem sort of […]

Read more
Creative Writing, Prose

Assist [3/4]

by Leo Gillard Kieran was perfectly aware that his life had… not exactly gone as planned. That he was stuck in something he couldn’t quite see the end of, couldn’t reach the bottom of to push himself back up again. He’d gone down the wrong path, somewhere along the line, and he’d sunk somewhere without […]

Read more
Creative Writing, Prose

Snow

by Iona Cowley The snow came over the night, as we thought it would. Slowly white piled up as duplicate of all, inching its way upward, cruel and faded shadow’s opposition. The sky was unusually light, no doubt the work of the millions of tiny crystals that were diffusing the neon street lamps as they […]

Read more
Humour, Prose

University Survival Guide

by Ruida Ding Time Management Strive to study in a systematic manner, for example by following a schedule to work a fixed amount of time each day. With sufficient advance planning, one can avoid working late into the night and circumvent all-nighters. Career Make use of Michaelmas term to converse with firms which interest you. […]

Read more
Culture, Prose, Reviews

Spring Awakening: A Review

by Raghav Arora and Samanwita Sen Spring Awakening is a bold take on teenage sexuality. It follows the experiences of various adolescents,’ sexuality coming to full bloom, with a major focus on Wendla Bergmann as she forays into the unfamiliar territory of lustful passion in her relationship with Melchior Gabor. The play strikes a fine […]

Read more
Comment, Prose

No Sacrifice Too Small

by Martin Yip On 1 October 2019, the People’s Republic of China celebrated its 70th anniversary. In Beijing, the largest ever military parade was staged. Fifteen thousand troops marched across Tiananmen Square with armaments that were all made in China. ‘Patriotism and pride swelled among the Chinese as they celebrated the country’s seven decades of […]

Read more
Prose

Anxiety [2/4]

by Leo Gillard Laila could see that he was on the edge of something; something she didn’t want to see come to  pass. Actually, they could all see it. Kieran was standing on the edge he’d been standing on for years now. Yet it… it almost wasn’t him she worried for. Everyone knew that Kieran […]

Read more
Prose

To My Parents

by Samanwita Sen Dear dreamer, It must have been a treacherous sail across the world.  I can imagine it – how years before my formless thoughts could fathom the existence of time and a world beyond you and this beautiful thing called growing up, you must’ve arched your back, reaching for the specks of stardust […]

Read more
Prose

Killing Sacrifice

by Monim Wains Those who are selfless, who give to others, in some way or another, are worthy of respect, or so we think. The epitome of such people is those who sacrifice their whole lives to protect something worthwhile. We admire and respect their courage, celebrate their spirit with great monuments and ceremonies. What […]

Read more
Prose

‘Of songs that die not’: A Quiet Hero of the Somme

by Grace Khuri 2019 marks the hundredth anniversary of the Treaty of Versailles (signed 28 June 1919), which officially ended the First World War. At this time of year, and not least during this twilight of the centenary commemorations, we reflect on the subject of sacrifice and its meanings. There are many types of sacrifice, […]

Read more
Creative Writing, Prose

Apart [1/4]

by Leo Gillard He’d never dared think about something like hope. Hope was for fools, for those reaching out in the dark, expecting nothing but still seeing everything, somehow. He didn’t have the luxury to entertain something so trivial, so baseless, so- Orion hoped for many things. He knew the hope was futile. He hated […]

Read more
Creative Writing, Poetry, Prose

Pandora

by Monim Wains You stood at the bottom of the waterfall, pelted by the deluge, punches of weight pounding down on your bones, thumping a tonne on your shoulders. You had been brought to the forest some time ago; not out of your own volition, but by those who decreed that you should exist. Like […]

Read more
Prose

Killing the Dragon

by Michael Angerer The world we live in certainly appears to be a dangerous place these days: a single glance at the news is enough to distract us from our petty worries about busy Oxford terms or a slightly less busy year abroad. Every headline promises another debacle, from Brexit to Syria to whatever President […]

Read more
Comment, Prose

The Ghosts of Protests Past

by ZX and Martin Yip ‘Nostalgia’ has two meanings. Originally, it meant ‘homesickness’. Today, it means ‘longing for the past’. For Hongkongers living in the UK, both meanings are apt. On Sunday 9th June, huge crowds filled the streets of Hong Kong to protest against a proposed law that would allow anyone in Hong Kong […]

Read more
Creative Writing, Prose

Winter [4/4]

by Leo Gillard Content warning: implied/referenced emotional abuse The sky was dark, and as Zach sat on the chair next to the radiator, he could watch snow falling. The street they lived on was always pretty poorly lit at night, but the light from the single streetlamp he could spot illuminated the flakes as they […]

Read more
Comment, Prose

Nostalgia

by Peter Gent Four years ago when we launched the print edition of The Poor Print, the editorial team, then led by Jacob Warn, had an idea: we would publish anything anyone submitted. But, we said, we would only do so if we could shape submissions with a strong editorial hand. We wanted concise, pithy, […]

Read more
Creative Writing, Prose

I Remember

by Monim Wains A blank white lit the room, harsh surgical light on every sterile surface. It would have felt clean and empty were it not for the sombre that stained the air. Silence echoed through the room. All the colours were muted: pastel blue and that green that looked like plastic dyed in washing […]

Read more