Love has been scrutinised by philosophers, poets, and hopeless romantics since the dawn of civilisation. For Confucius, it is the perfect virtue—the foundation of any flourishing community. According to Taylor Swift, love is ‘a balcony in the summer air’, ‘crying on the staircase’, and ‘sneaking out to the garden’. Who am I to say if either of them is right? Personally, I am partial to Jane Austen, whose Elizabeth Bennet lamented, ‘I wonder who first discovered the efficacy of poetry in driving away love!’
The Valentine’s Day Love Poetry Competition asks students to compose an original poem about love. There are three Divisions—Year 7-8, Year 9-10, and Year 11-12—to provide our budding poets the opportunity to develop their aptitude with language.
This competition celebrates love in all its forms, and our students have truly embraced this spirit. They have carefully composed poems praising objects of their affection as diverse as friendship, the sky, chemistry—a ‘special bond’ indeed—the ‘little things in life’, the night, love songs—a pastiche of lines rearranged, by a pastiche of Year 11s, into ‘a sonnet for the metaphysical decline of a teenage girl’s heart’—parents, therapy dogs, a favourite pen, self-love, and one delightful quatrain about chicken nuggets. Then there were the poems about heartbreak—there were more than a few of these. Oh, to be young and to feel love’s keen sting.
The winner of each Division receives a medal and a Chartwells voucher. The runners up in each Division will receive Highly Commended certificates at House Assemblies.
The winner of the Year 7-8 Division, for her poem Little Things is Remy Kalinin (8H). The winner of the Year 9-10 Division for her untitled poem about heartbreak, is Sabrina Yong-Gee (9H). The winner of the Year 11-12 Division, for Growing Up Alone, a love letter to myself is Camille Cahill (12G).
Mr Anthony Cupitt
Love is something fickle
Some think it’s a god-written article. Some think it’s lustful, trustful, terrifying, or mundane. Or some are so foreign to love all of it just feels the same.
What do I think of love? The little things are what I think of. The way someone’s lips quirk when they try to hide a smile. Or simpler things, like fancy names. Edmund, Maurice, and Carlisle.
Some other things that give me joy are pointy canine teeth, the roaring of an air conditioner, or babbling babies’ speech.
The sweet nothings in the wind, the whispers of below the water. Or the feeling of sand stuck on your nose or the cawing of the dreary crows.
Staples, screws, and shiny things. Industrial trinkets and grimy things. They make my heart feel full and swollen of love for little things.
I love the way that freckles dapple my friends’ and family’s cheeks, or the scent of freshly mowed grass or warm concrete splattered with a lazy stream of water from a hose. I love the wet, soft texture of my dog’s all too curious nose.
I love the smell of fresh books, and hearing robots speak. I love the grass growing on the dunes and the smell of sunscreen on the beach.
And oh, the stars, the glorious stars, the history of our universe played to us from afar, and oh, the stars the way they smile, the way they just grin for a little while.
Love is what you make of it and much more than it seems. I could go on and on and on for my love of little things. So please, I ask, I beg, for you to love them too, look around, admire popcorn popping, stop signs stopping, or the laces on a shoe. Because, if you pass by our little things, the little things will pass by you.
Remy Kalinin (8H)
Untitled poem about heartbreak
ever so slowly
Waiting for you
To tell me
That you miss me
That you’re sorry
I was left
This everlasting labyrinth
We call Earth,
To piece together
Still. Can’t. Find. The. Part. Where. You. Loved. Me.
‘Why did they leave?’
I ask myself,
Was answered with
Unspeakable, daunting silence
It stings —–
But I plastered
A mask upon my face
the tears of grief
Down my face
With utter devastation
And at the end
Of all this,
This tragedy, if you will,
I still find,
To my surprise,
Sabrina Yong-Gee (9H)
Growing up Alone, a love letter to myself
I think I thought when I was little
There’s a point where you can be too old
To be alone
But I’ve realised now that people are always alone
Whether they’re surrounded by a dozen friends
And I’m ashamed to say I’m one of them…
I thought you could be too mature
To cry in bathrooms
Or be too grown up to
Care what other people think about you
I think I imagined I’d have lots of friends
And that if I were good enough
I’d have friends forever
But as I’ve gotten older
And I’ve gotten mature
And I’m going to be a grown-up soon
I’ve realised it doesn’t matter how much you care
Most people don’t
I keep waiting for the point in my life
Where all the bad things will stop
And life will know now that I’m grown up
So that means everyone will be nice all the time
And I’ll never fight with anyone again
And each person I love will stay as my friend
But I haven’t changed
I’ve stayed the same
I still get sad cus’ now I know everyone goes
Whether I like it or not, people come and go
And it’s normal to cry
Because now I know the hardest part in life is goodbye
I have a big room in my heart
That’s full of love and kindness
Despite that, it’s been ripped and smashed apart
But that’s why every memory
is precious to me
I keep every birthday and Christmas card
So, I can remember them before they left their scar
In that big room in my heart
I think because of my optimistic outlook
My heart’s a little weaker than others
So, it gets bruised a little easier
I want to be ashamed
to hope for kindness
And to wish for happiness
But even though my heart is often what makes me so alone
I still don’t hate it
I love it because it’s made me who I am
I still have plenty of space on my shelves for new cards
And I still have a lot more growing up to do
Being alone is something I’ll always have to keep getting used to
I think it’s okay to not know everything
And to not know when the growing-up really stops
Maybe it never stops
Maybe I’ll keep getting older forever
There is one thing that I do know
Loneliness never sticks around for long
Just like friends
They balance each other in a never-ending dance
Despite that, I’ll never stop caring
And I’ll never stop loving how much I care
It’s hard to accept sometimes the way that I am
I never said life was easy, I’ll only say that this is true
Just because they’re gone
Doesn’t mean the memories are too…
Camille Cahill (12G)