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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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