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2022 Winning Poems


I’m colourblind, don’t see the subtle way

Ma darkens at me, how she disapproves

Of all my mischief, cultural counter-moves,

And all else that I do to her dismay.

I wonder, Amma, whether they will stay

In adulthood, these scars that with teen hooves

I tractor in my skin, these deep white grooves

That from your warm brown stables lead away.


I’m colourblind, I don’t know rong* from right.

With time, though, I will learn inside to host

Both dark and light. I’ll navigate the sea

Of tans and beiges bridging brown and white.

I’ll get to know which colours suit me most

And keep the shades I deem belong to me.


* In Bengali, ‘rong’ means ‘colour’.

By Siddiq Islam, Oriel College, Oxford



As I Looked Out Across a Raging Sea


As I looked out across a raging sea,

Alone, and poised to leap upon the swell,

A whispered voice from some forgotten Hell

Appeared like dust from air. It said to me:

“O fool! How reckless Man is wont to be,

When dreaming of the tales he will tell,

Believing, like immortals, to repel

Death’s call, when in that fray he calls for thee.”


As I began to take the offered hand,

Terror and fury woke some part which slept,

“A death it is, to never take a stand!”

I said. “Who wants to live a life unwept?

My greatest days are yet unknown, unplanned,

But I will face them all.” And so, I leapt.

By Cameron Nicholls-Iggulden, Oriel College, Oxford