Poetry

Worn-Out Words

by Aidan Chivers The cracked pots of consonants lie strewn across the ground, And quiver with the rattle of feeble cliché – Whimpering, they give out a creaky, plaintive sound Battered by tiny tongues forcing their decay.   Colourless vowels fade, hollowed out through overuse: An impotent oblivion of musty, mouldy scents. Antique tapestries unravel; […]

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Collection

Highlights of 2016

A selection of some of 2016’s most popular articles on our website ‘Oxford: A café map’ – Sophie Barnes   Oriel Interviews: “I like to be popular…”   ‘Misinformation in the Rhodes Campaign’ – Madeline Briggs   ‘Periods, Taboos and Female Shame’ – Emma Gilpin   ‘Chicken Run or Ritual Slaughter’ – Jacob Warn   ‘Remembering […]

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Poetry

Catch Me If You Can

by Jenny Potter Smudges of neon watercolour stain The powder blue of the heavens. Towering stems slash at bare shins, Marking pink, criss-crossed fire Across epidermal brickwork. Fields dusted with poisoned petals Glow yellow in the waning sun. Rich greenery shrouds footed clay Leading through lush summer growth To trees of suitability: tall, spindly, straight […]

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Poetry

All the Blues I’ve Ever Known

by Rebecca Slater All the blues I’ve ever known add up to this – this single perfect blue which is really a thousand blues, bottled up like the beachedblue glass on my mother’s mantelpiece, my father’s bluebuttoned shirt stained from Sunday afternoons painting my brother’s blue-walled bedroom – a boyish bias, ever since that blue […]

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Poetry

Sky

by Lucy Mellor  “Is the sky blue?” Said sarcastically – Analogous to “Is the Pope Catholic?” As though the Pope Changes his faith With sunrise And sunset.   A mutiny of colours Largely unobserved Hang wistfully Waiting for acceptance Until time’s end – Rendering ordinary Each blue sky And white cloud.   It’s getting colder […]

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Poetry

Ceramic

by Tom Davy To the first term’s autumnal fog. Tears tumble off marooned cheeks That peek into new rooms, new curtains, Parted like families. Then there’s the names that fizz Like molecules around the hall, A mahogany pit of reaction After reaction After reaction. We’re all playing potters, Clay bridges between ourselves Form like the […]

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Poetry

Fingertips

by Chloe Cheung   fingertips warm lips— parting is such sweet—sorrow i say (dreams really do come true) icecold river dissolves past/present/future take me back now; rewind three years: tick, tock, tick, tock, tick … it’s not ‘goodbye’ my dear, but a promise that we’ll meet again—

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Prose

‘Goodbye’

by Lucy Mellor   It was new and I was awakening Springing into life Vines of ivy intertwined The sun adored us And we basked in its glory; It won’t set on us. Defiance of nature The chill sets in I curl into myself Time for things to die Distance is a poison and I […]

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Prose

Bells’ End

by Jenny Potter   Awaken me on Sunday morning Chiming for an hour or two And once you pause, I think you’re waning, You begin to toll anew. What’s the time? Who knows? Who cares? The occasion? We need none. Each time you catch me unawares And torment me until you’re done. You’re hungover? What […]

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Prose

‘Goodbye’

by Luke Sheridan I said goodbye to a friend today. A mirror. A rainforest well of the same unknown depth. A crystal cave undrained by men with ropes and suits. Unvisited by the thousand eyes Devouring the monthly publications Extolling the great wonder of the hidden Deep, displaying in photographs ‘untouched’ nature with a Proud […]

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Prose

‘Misjudgement’ – Kat Wood

by Kat Wood She wasn’t born to be a saint, But modelled to a mind’s ideal And, with celestial restraint, Held hostage by ill-founded zeal. The two had met a single time But in his memory each day Her image changed to one sublime, Venus incarnate, he would say. And so the girl became a […]

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Prose

‘Self-confidence’ – A Poem

by Charlie Willis Self-confidence Nothing you have done wraps its chains around your ankles and drags you away from a sunset streaked with gold, and nothing you have done takes you by the hand and leads you along a lucky path to freedom. For we are all picking things up and trying things out, and […]

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Prose

Eighth Week – A Poem

by Jenny Potter Lips bruised by the cool taste of your Mouth still clinging to my tongue. College steps, Cool stone, Feelings of ineptitude. A physical catharsis: Tracing the shapes of words but Releasing only the sounds Of a metronomic breath. The kiss of the mist Frustration at the expectation of Social conformism. Steel steps […]

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Prose

‘Green’

by Jacob Warn   Green was the colour of day when clods stuck to corduroy on cool mornings as a boy. Green was aching for envy at the daisy chain she’d plucked and his chin gleaming with buttercups. Green was the lie of sucking grass – a child’s drug – and sap that boys claimed […]

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Poetry

Ritual of the Essay Crisis

by Alex Waygood   ‘Twas in the early hours of Monday morn That in the libr’y, one could plainly see A boy: who, with hunch’d back and bended neck, Didst type away on music theory. The clock struck three, then four, then five! The college soundly snored – Yet still the lad did keenly strive […]

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Prose

You Cannot Pass – A Sonnet

by Peter Gent ‘You cannot pass,’ said he, despite his foe. Then all the Orcs stood still among the stone; Retreated eight, dead silence fell, and woe. No fellowship-for Gandalf’s will alone Did face the Balrog’s dreams when he did leave His morbid home and search a higher life. ‘No pass,’ said Gandalf, ‘shall you […]

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Prose

A Response to Mr Hull on the Merits of Metre

Following Mr Hull valiantly hoping to extort a change in his poetic style, Mr Turnbull (Poetry Editor) formally makes his response: The Poetry Editor’s Response To those who, with the lance of liberty And shield of confidence, are hoping I May overcome ‘Rhyme’s ancient tyranny,’ I must make my response and ask them, why? Why […]

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Prose

A Polemic Treatise on Mr Turnbull’s Poetic Style

Rory Turnbull (Poetry Editor) has been criticised of late for writing nothing but sonnets. As Matthew Hull sets forth in his polemic treatise: So Rory Turnbull writes in sonnet form? And doth to write in other forms refuse? For “poorer poets write in multiform Barbaric meters which no structure use. There is no room for […]

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Humour, Poetry

I Want Thee Back – The Jackson V

A Shakespearian Sonnet Translation by Jade Tinslay   J.V In bygone days thy love I held alone and thought it ever would to me belong. I spurned thy company and will atone thy face I could not count in beauty’s throng. Alas, another sought thee at first sight, ’tis past the hour for me to gaze […]

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Prose

‘Digitality’

by Rory Turnbull A human need ensures that we shall leer At Fortune’s favours, others’ joys unreal; And yet, when others too begin to jeer At our denuded privacy, we feel The need to curse, to curse computers then. We mourn how emails pester us until Our fingers always fix themselves again Upon our phones, […]

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Prose

‘Beginnings’

by Rory Turnbull How to begin? How do we make a start? With all those expectations driving me To take my turn and try to play my part In writing something, somehow, easily, I do not know; I know not what to write, Since I’m ungifted, and in rhyme untaught. ‘Fain would I, but I […]

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Prose

Eating Disorder – OWA 2015 Winner

This entry was the winner of the Oriel Writing Awards: Poetry Category for 2015. Congratulations! *** Eating Disorder – Jade Tinslay   Wear me on your lips, your delectable hips, my opulent weight a fine coat draped over your craving bones.   Let me nestle about your thighs, glaze your eyes. Let me taste you, […]

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Prose

Sonnet – OWA 2015 2nd Place

This entry came 2nd place in the Oriel Writing Awards: Poetry Category for the year 2015. *** Sonnet – by Kat Wood Earth lies as barren as dry winter air, Corsets of concrete and brick pin her down, Jealous of radiance, features so fair, Workmen are covering her with a gown. Not one of autumn leaves, dew drops […]

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Prose

滿江紅 – A New Translation of an Ancient Chinese Poem

by Zixin Jiang Background Ngok Fei (1103-1142) was a Chinese general in the Song dynasty. In 1126, the northern Jurchen civilisation invaded the Song dynasty and captured the Song capital Kaifeng and the Song emperor. Ngok Fei led the Song army in wars against the Jurchens and was about to recapture Kaifeng when the reigning […]

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Prose

Introit

by Jacob Warn   At Pusey House entrances and exits on a scene: entranced by sober vigilance, pagan minutiae the wings – a hollow, chamber space Mark me! Penitent face. Stand, a side-long and, wait, now in with lengthy stick or bowed head. Execute all impatient not we who sit and watch this play. A […]

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Prose

Mouseion

by Rafael Posada In my actions there is a secret meaning. In the surface of my thoughts I have played the feelings (such colours!), Danced the verbs and steered the light. In the bright exterior all is the same, as if cut down. My true wishes rest in the shadow, Holding the pain of theatre […]

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Prose

On the Poet’s 20th Birthday

Imagination! Lift up thyself, With crampons on the cliffs around (Hallowed, humble, vaporous mist!) Incline to scale, yourself unground. In some the sun’s low orb ignites The organ of an inspiration And then Apollo’s daily crossing Does burn out gold-streaming creation. While I – still orbless – bemoan at length The wintry dark of discontent, […]

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Prose

Morphantasy

I beheaded a word in trying to modify it for the better: A sudden detachment of a letter-limb. A good intention ending in orthographic disaster. The ‘v’, shocked, severed with the presence of a ‘p’, a bilabial blade, stares at the rest of its mutated corpse: ‘iolence’. Ticking like a death knell, the cursor hovers […]

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