The poetry of youth: what it tells us about our kids, and ourselves (part 2)

Recently I bumped into a group of young British poets from Milton Keynes near where I live, roughly the same age as my own son (21 years old.) These are not snotty kids attending fancy private schools; they are ordinary guys going to ordinary schools and colleges. They had put together a collection of their poems and asked me what I thought of them. I looked through them. There were a few spelling mistakes, grammatical mistakes, homophones.

However what shone very brightly through all that, was the raw emotion; through the lines of these poems we can see not only what makes these kids tick, but also how much we can learn from their expressions and ideas. I found that hugely enlightening, so last week I asked two of their number a few questions which I reported on here. Here now are some excerpts from their work which I find particularly inspiring. I’ve chosen two poems from their self-published collection…

Epiphany by Zach

I walked into a pub up town, met up with some mates

Went for a drink, then we were drunk, smiles all round

Then a friend turned to me, a grin to frown

Asked why so many people in the world are allowed…

To take away the freedom of men, women and children

To excuse split blood on religion to justify killing them

I said what brought all this on, what have you been smoking

Apart from the few beers there’s nothing I’ve been toking.

So why then an angry insight to the world that doesn’t concern you

It’s not an insight he said; as much as balance between evil and common good

In ten years you could have a child, and every day its chances become defiled

Twenty and he’ll be growing up oppressed

With the imagination and innocence of youth suppressed.

With nothing but YouTube, Facebook, MySpace, MSN and Bebo

Consuming sh*t, sending blogs and terrifying the people.

Forgot how to dance

Stuck in a trance

Behind a keyboard

Nothing out of the norm at first glance.

But how long till every f*cker is stuck behind glass and concrete

Everyone being needy with everything to keep

Everybody knowing everything

But still being discreet.

We see the pain and suffering of each generation

We know what’s gonna happen next with no anticipation

Instead of using our voice

We hide behind a digital application

When for hundreds of years, freedom is the title of all our nations.

When we live to work and work so we can live

In our 3 storey houses while all our morals get sent to the tip.

I’m not one to complain or to make a scene

But this is common sense mate

Every wrong with the world has been seen.

And you just made a point about what I’ve been smoking

To assume I’m on drugs when only the truth has been spoken.

When people with opinion are outcast of society

When the production of weapons has become every government’s priority

They’re lying to me, nobody is free even the guy you work for

Is working for someone higher up the tree, so you see

To be or not to be part of system claiming to hold the key

Who says it’s easy as 1, 2, 3 looking down the barrel of a gun

Begging please.

When the crops have turned to dried mud

In fifty years nod and tell me it’s all good.

When the bombs burn boom bang thud

When every child conceived will always and forever be stained with

The past’s blood

We say we have it tough?

You haven’t seen nothing yet.


Attracting The Flak by Ben

It’s a sure shank with no redemption

Constriction of contemplation

Close up, give out

Prescribed suffocation designed to mess you about

These lines fill the streets

Lines of louts created as such by society’s doubts

Knife crime is rampant

The first hooligans a phantom

Silently secreting ideas into the minds of the wanton

Not tools nor geniuses but fools.

Cursed and conformed by the public schools

Prophecy fulfilled and the single ones get sent the bills

Tax laws are funny with the tax payers’ money

Laugh it up

Legal addicts with pills of prescription.

I was told to take ‘em

When times showed that I was gonna blow

Throw off this dark blanket


The doctor took control

“that’s the drugs and alcohol”

No good to think deep

Just while away your time

In a media-induced sleep.

A drug’s a drug same as a thug is always a thug

Whether it be policeman or inflicted mug

Your grave has been dug.

The media resonate the crimes

So on a dark night

All you can think of is the violence of our times…

I’m gonna get knifed

Tonight’s the night

Friendly faces turn dark

You hype for the fight

But it’s only Grandma Doe

Walking home alone

And you almost broke her nose.

Living in fear causes aggression

And the media push the pressure.

So you’re on the attack

Attracting the flak

Thinking of the knife

Every day of your life.


Thought provoking, isn’t it?

Some help to make you  write poetically:

“Banana Skin Words and how not to slip on them”…over 1,500 spelling and grammar tips to perfect your written English

“English to English: the A to Z of British-American translations”…more than 2,000 business and social terms from the USA, the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand

“The English Language Joke book”…hundreds of laughs about this crazy language of ours




  1. […] Next week I’ll post some examples of Zach’s and Ben’s work. Be prepared to be inspired… […]