In response to these troubled times, The Oxford Blue culture team has started a new creative writing project: ‘CREATIVITY IN CRISIS: a writing collective’.

Here are some of our favourites of the work we received, illustrated by May Moorwood.  

night and day and everything in between – Maria Grosu

you never miss a nice sky, or a lingering waltz of a few 
shapely shadows, night falling tamely on your favourite places 
you greet her, from a swiftly dissolving margin of past as she comes 
and you stay, behind curtains, eyeing the passer of the hours 
resolve to calmly rummage through, clothes left knotted on the chair 
and white plates holding biscuit halves, you pick up a few stubborn crumbs
and count, through the glittered window, each soft yellow circle, each
flicker, its presence punctual, undelayed, your eyes grasping the luminous 
array of night-time visitors, you would rather not resist this, the frightful shooting 
of the arrows, moon rolling credits on the day, too soon, you are left only to
unfold the bedsheets, merging into, one vast overwhelming white, a paper scrap
as you descend, unable to find solace, on either end, the room does not accommodate 
you any longer, you are, uncontainable, your limbs left to inhabit a warm 
lumbering puddle, from tomorrow to tomorrow to tomorrow, awaiting the crisp
fiery rosebuds of the returned day, when you will wake, when you will watch again 

After school – Georgia Brown

They sat together, side by side, upon the bench. Their arms were parallel and brushed together at slow movement, the sound of their coats hanging softly in mid-air, accompanied only by their breathing. Sometimes he played a private game of trying to render his breaths to fall in line with her own, but after running up the hill neither pattern could be predicted. Instead he contented himself with listening, from the corner of his eye watching her breath slowly incarnate to clouds in the November air. She stared on at the low sunset that they had ran out of the school gates to see only minutes before. He had gladly accompanied her, he felt in the pit of his stomach that he would accompany her anywhere if she only asked him. But this would be enough for now. Perhaps enough forever. He did not know much about love, but he was certain it was to do with the sound of someone else’s breath seeming more interesting than your own. Their existence beside you, the mud on their pink calf from an unanticipated puddle, the way their hair had become slightly frizzy as they self-consciously began to pat it down, the overly sweet perfume that clung to them- the same that permeated from the girls changing rooms, a world he did not understand yet but suspected existed. It did not matter that she did not know. The truth of his feelings was that she did not need to know, she did not need to give anything back. She just needed to be. The two of them sat together in each other’s company, separate but together. Yes, that would be enough. 

Anthem (crush the flies) – Daniel Cox

They’ve got heads on spikes,
We’ve got hands on shoulders,
I’m sorry you feel that way…
Whispered softly into our ears,
The hand is cold,
As cold as the world, as the message,
That chills my frail heart,
Until I don’t notice the caskets,
Until the song is all I hear,
I knew this would happen,
You’re in your right place, they say,
The voices clasp at my dreams at night,
Their voices remind me,
That no refuge could save me,
I am grateful for the hand,
The hand that offers sanctuary,
To the scattered and the fallen,
Yesterday I woke up with a fly in my head,
Threshing its one remaining wing,
Against my freshly woven web,
I tried to kill it with a newspaper,
And almost shed a tear,
This morning the fly was made of glass,
I reached inside, palm outstretched,
And crushed it into shards,
I felt no pain, only relief,
It’s in the shadows at the side of my bed,
Whispering a song that goes,
Crush the flies,
I could have sworn I heard another,
Why are my eyes so dry?
I turn up the sounds of the bursting bombs,
And paint the walls with red flashes,
And the song is all I hear,
And I hear nothing,
I wake up and my mind is clear,
I stare myself down in the mirror,
And my reflection stares back,
Satisfaction is in the air,
A productive day at work,
Polite small talk at the dinner table,
Nothing out of the ordinary,
I have all I need,
And a fly’s clipped wing,
All I need,
And my mind is clear,
And my mind is cold,
Staring back,
I am satisfied
I am satisfied,
I woke up with clipped wings.

Ignorance is bliss? Daniela Krouzkova

staring at the clock 
getting lost in cotton bud mountains 
surrounded by flickering numbers on mysterious screens 
and rows of nailpolish 
and stacks of hair dye 
and hands tapping away at keyboards 
quiet board games in the office 
droplets in my hair 
slugs and flowers beneath my feet 
hiding in the shade 
I watch the sun go 
backwards summersaults in our tiny bathtub 
when mama isn’t looking
busy talking on the phone 
muffled whispers in foreign tongues 
strawberries on wet paper towels 
waiting in the kitchen
tucked under the duvet 
covered in sticky sweat 
waiting for the fairytale to end 

Nature Unbound – Amira Izhar

No change, no pause, no hope! Yet I endure. I ask the Earth, have not the mountains felt?” – Prometheus Unbound, P. B. Shelley. 

We stood for centuries watching soil boiling, 
Bubbling mud, undulating weeds twisting 
And wilting purple. We watched with our 
Acetate eyes, glazed with saccharine hope, 
Ah me! alas, pain, pain ever, for ever! 

I wiped the water that danced down her 
Blushed cheek, stained longing for liberty, 
My mistress Nature’s Soul was unbinding, 
And mine feeble arms couldn’t contain it. 
Ah me! alas, pain, pain ever, for ever! 

All fertile fields, orchards, meadows, now barren, 
All rivers of rose carcasses, the stench 
Of their dying breath sweetly kissing the 
Densest, stale Air. Their lungs surrendered - 
Ah me! alas, pain, pain ever, for ever! 

Nature galloped into the charred blackness,
Her pale limbs now wiped sooty with debris 
I could only hold myself and watch on; 
Cursing the foul destruction of our World. 
Ah me! alas, pain, pain ever, for ever! 

If you would like to be published in the next edition, submit your work to the link below:

Gaia Clark Nevola

Gaia Clark Nevola (she/ they) was the Senior Editor for Culture from June 2020 to March 2021 and is now the paper's welfare officer and a member of the board. She is in her second year studying English at St. Catz where they are also LGBTQ+ welfare rep. Gaia is the Bi Rep on the SU LGBTQ+ Campaign committee and sometimes does costumes for student theatre. She is the proud owner of a questionable mullet and enjoys telling people that she's actually half Italian, as though that constitutes having...