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First Story changes lives through writing. We believe that writing can transform lives, and that there is dignity and power in every young person’s story. First Story brings talented, professional writers into secondary schools serving low-income communities to work with teachers and students to foster creativity and communication skills. By helping students find their voices through intensive, fun programmes, First Story raises aspirations and gives students the skills and confidence to achieve them. For more information and details of how to support First Story, see or contact us at

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Poetry Is Not A Cow ISBN 978-0-85748-230-3 Published by First Story Limited Omnibus Business Centre, 39–41 North Road London N7 9DP Copyright © First Story 2016 Typesetting: Avon DataSet Ltd Cover Design: Lucy Dove Printed in the UK by Intype Libra Ltd First Story is a registered charity number 1122939 and a private company limited by guarantee incorporated in England with number 06487410. First Story is a business name of First Story Limited.

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Poetry Is Not A Cow An Anthology By The First Story Group At Woodside High School Edited and introduced by Ross Raisin | 2016

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‘We all have a voice. Some never discover it. We all have stories to tell. Some never tell them. First Story has helped all these young writers to discover their writing voice, and in so doing has helped them discover themselves.’ Michael Morpurgo (author of War Horse) ‘First Story is a fantastic idea. Creative writing can change people’s lives: I’ve seen it happen. It’s more than learning a skill. It’s about learning that you, your family, your culture and your view of the world are rich and interesting and important, whoever you happen to be. Teenagers are under increasing pressure to tailor their work to exams, and to value themselves in terms of the results. First Story offers young people something else, a chance to find their voices.’ Mark Haddon (author of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time) ‘First Story not only does an invaluable thing for the young and underheard people of England, it does it exceptionally well. Their books are expertly edited and beautifully produced. The students featured within are wonderfully open and candid about their lives, and this is a credit to First Story, whose teachers thoroughly respect, and profoundly amplify, their voices. The only problem with First Story is that they’re not everywhere – yet. Every young person deserves the benefit of working with them.’ Dave Eggers (author of A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius) ‘First Story is an inspiring initiative. Having attended a school with a lot of talented kids who didn’t always have the opportunity to express that talent, I know what it would have meant to us to have real-life writers dropping by and taking our stories seriously. And what an opportunity for writers, too, to meet some of the most creative and enthusiastic young people in this country! It’s a joyful project that deserves as much support as we can give it.’ Zadie Smith (winner of the Orange Prize for fiction and author of White Teeth) ‘I think that First Story is a hugely valuable organisation. What it does is it gives people a voice. It helps create a sense of what we can do about injury, lacking of voice, and in the broader sense it creates communities, true communities of understanding.’ Alain de Botton (philosopher and author of Essays in Love)

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As Patron of First Story I am delighted that it continues to foster and inspire the creativity and talent of young people in secondary schools serving low-income communities. I firmly believe that nurturing a passion for reading and writing is vital to the health of our country. I am therefore greatly encouraged to know that young people in this school – and across the country – have been meeting each week throughout the year in order to write together. I send my warmest congratulations to everybody who is published in this anthology.

HRH The The Duchess Duchess of of Cornwall Cornwall HRH

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Thank You Melanie Curtis at Avon DataSet for her overwhelming support for First Story and for giving her time in typesetting this anthology. Lucy Dove for illustrating and designing the cover of this anthology. Intype Libra for printing this anthology at a discounted rate; Tony Chapman and Moya Birchall at Intype Libra for their advice. HRH The Duchess of Cornwall, Patron of First Story. The Trustees of First Story: Andrea Minton Beddoes, Anne Elizabeth Pryor Colocci, Robert John Waterloo Ind, Charlotte Mary Hogg, David Anthony Stuart Stephens, Sue Margaret Horner, Sophie Dalling, Mayowa Sofekun, Edward James Baden-Powell, Betsy Elizabeth Tobin, James Victor Waldegrave. The Advisory Board of First Story: Andrew Adonis, Julian Barnes, Jamie Byng, Alex Clark, Julia Cleverdon, Andrew Cowan, Jonathan Dimbleby, Mark Haddon, Simon Jenkins, Derek Johns, Andrew Kidd, Rona Kiley, Chris Patten, Kevin Prunty, Zadie Smith, William Waldegrave and Brett Wigdortz. Thanks to: Aldgate and Allhallows Foundation, Arts Council England, Jane and Peter Aitken, Tim Bevan and Amy Gadney, Big Lottery Fund, the Boutell Bequest, the Liz and Terry Bramall Foundation, Brunswick, Cheltenham Festivals, Clifford Chance Foundation, Beth and Michele Colocci, the Danego Charitable Trust, the D’Oyly Carte Charitable Trust, the Dulverton Trust, the Thomas Farr Charity, the Robert Gavron Charitable Trust, the First Story Events

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Committee, the First Story First Editions Club, the Girdlers’ Company Charitable Trust, Give A Book, Goldman Sachs Gives, Charlotte Hogg and Steve Sacks, Laura Kinsella Foundation, Kate Kunac-Tabinor, the Lake House Charitable Foundation, Letters Live, John Lyon’s Charity, Old Possum’s Practical Trust, Open Gate Trust, Oxford University Press, Penguin Random House, Psycle Interactive, Laurel and John Rafter, the Sigrid Rausing Trust, the Royal Society of Literature, SAGE Publications, Santander Foundation, Alison and Neil Seaton, the Staples Trust, Teach First, Betsy Tobin and Peter Sands, Walker Books, the Wates Foundation, the Garfield Weston Foundation, and our group of regular donors. Most importantly we would like to thank the students, teachers and writers who have worked so hard to make First Story a success this year, as well as the many individuals and organisations (including those we may have omitted to name) who have given their generous time, support and advice.

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Contents Introduction

Ross Raisin


Take My Hand Samosa Shadows The Trump If All Muslims Are Terrorists Caitlin’s Story What Is a Question? I Saw If My School Cost Twenty Million Pounds to Build Maximus and the Beast If Donald Trump Was Elected If I Were a Billionaire A Friend Day of the Dinosaur Money Echoes Football Kills The Golden Poo If Football Never Existed… Football! Beep, Beep, Bomb If There Was No Light in the World True Friends Love If I Had No Wi-Fi Me The Day

A Communal Poem Amerisa Nutaj Leah Mendrys Michal Jedruszczak Mahema Khalam Carla Hewitt Paris Da Silva Viktoria Valcheva Riyadh Douali

13 14 15 16 17 18 20 21 22

Caleb K-Johnson Nazifa Uddin Nazneen Ahmed A Communal Poem Oldi Nanaj Abdillahi Ali Aleksandra Piperkova Edson Cardoso Caleb Scotland-Babini Lahmar Rose-Edgar Fin Conway Alpi Papaj Emilia Krzysciak

23 24 25 26 27 28 29 31 32 34 35 36 37

Bridget Perez A Communal Poem Berdan Altinkaya Helin Suruk Kyle Collingwood

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No Fun in the World Rukiye Demir My MacBook! Brad Finn If Dogs Could Talk Keira Reid Mahad’s Freedom Mahad Hussein I Saw Eli Tsoneva If Donald Trump Was the Rowda Mohamed President If I Was Normal Melissa Salih All the Superpowers Ryad Benameur If I Wasn’t Shadise, Who Would Shadise Kiya Archer-Read I Be? My Other Half Hasret Altun Get Lost A Communal Poem Diabetes Miraya Gamsiz Six-Word Autobiographies

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Introduction Ross Raisin

On the first day, we began talking about poetry. I asked the students to describe what the word ‘poetry’ means to them, what kind of poetry they enjoy, and whether or not it is definable. Alpi’s response to that last question – ‘poetry is… it’s words… it’s not a cow’ – resonated through the week, and felt like a fitting title for this anthology. And particularly so because the book is full of poetry. We discussed both poetry and prose, and the students wrote pieces in each form (it also turned out that one of the students, Kyle, is writing a novel), but it was poetry that most seized their imaginations. Possibly this was something to do with the nature of the course and the boiling down, the intensity, of it. There was no time for long and considered reflection and revision of work – instead, a few days of instinctive creative responses to everything that I threw at them. Which, essentially, came down often to the same question: what does the world look like to you? What do you make of it? Where is your place in it? There were two parallel groups of students, given many of the same prompts throughout the week, which made it interesting to observe both what ingroup patterns came about, but also what shared themes and interests came to light unbeknownst of the other group. As such, the pieces contained within these pages can be viewed as a snapshot of what was on the minds of these young people in this school at this particular time. Donald Trump. The interpretation and misinterpretation of Islam. Being normal. Football. (I’m still hoping, by the way, that somebody can explain to me why a school on White Hart Lane has so many Arsenal supporters in it.) 11

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poetry is not a cow

Each group participated in four sessions of creative writing, the final one of which was given over to the writing and editing of the pieces that are in this anthology. The first of these final sessions, the morning group, was, initially, missing three boys. Some of the other students went off to locate them, and eventually gathered them up. When they entered the room, all three looked unbearably sad. They had, it was revealed, been taken out of a cookie-baking class. After a few minutes of continued dejection and no writing, I went to speak to the boys, and told them that if they really did want to go back to the class, then they could – but, just for a moment, to think about whether the short-term pleasure of those cookies would outweigh the satisfaction of a book, that they could contribute to, and write whatever they wanted to say about the world inside. Whether or not anybody saved any cookies for them, I don’t know, but they stayed.


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Take My Hand A Communal Poem

Take my hand and show me the world. Take my hand – I am ready for anything. Take my hand, guide me away. Take my hand in marriage. Take my hand, pull me away. Take my hand and don’t let go. Take my hand and take care of it. Take my hand and we will ride and die together. Take my hand, my friend, and you won’t be disappointed. Take my hand and take a breath. Take my hand and I will show you the world.


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Samosa Amerisa Nutaj

If I was a samosa, what filling would I have? What feelings would I have? Would my friends now be sauces? If I was a samosa, could I eat myself? And if I did, would that be cannibalism? Would I leave crumbs everywhere I went? If I was a samosa, would I be accepted on fancy plates? Would I still go to school? Would my art teacher finally get my name right? If I was a samosa, then what would that make my parents? Should I feel offended if humans ate me? If I got a new nickname, would I turn into that?


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Shadows Leah Mendrys

I wake up in cold sweat. I can’t remember anything. It smells like a hospital: the soft sheets under my legs and arms, my mother weeping before me. It feels like I’m a shadow that can’t disappear. I try to move but it is as if something heavy is on my chest, I’m struggling to breathe and I see a long shadow over me. I scream but there is no reaction from my mother. Still she won’t move. I hear a loud beeping noise next to me, and the shadow is gone. I look left: my heart monitor has gone flat – I see blurriness, my mum rising and screaming for the nurse, loads of people rushing in to poke and prod at me. Yet I still don’t know what happened, and I won’t find out. It is a shadow that won’t disappear…


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The Trump Michal Jedruszczak

If Donald Trump was to be president, would America be great again, or white again? If Donald Trump was to be president, would we witness the beginning of the end? If Trump was to be president, would it be a joke gone too far? Trump isn’t a politician, but a painfully honest businessman. If Trump was to be president, would he wage a nuclear war? Or rule with an Iron Wall? If Trump was to be president, would we witness the beginning of the American Hitler?


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If All Muslims Are Terrorists Mahema Khalam

If all Muslims are terrorists why is Islam all about peace? If all Muslims were terrorists wouldn’t the amount of Muslims in the UK decrease? If all Muslims were terrorists wouldn’t there be mosques everywhere? If all Muslims were terrorists would friendship between other religions exist? If all Muslims were terrorists what would Islam mean? If all Muslims were terrorists would Muslims be accepted? If all Muslims were terrorists would the Islamic culture be looked at in a different way? If all Muslims were terrorists would it be harder for Muslims to get a job? If all Muslims were terrorists Would it be harder for Muslims to make a living? If all Muslims are terrorists Am I considered as one?


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Caitlin’s Story Carla Hewitt

It was another normal day for Caitlin. She was the assistant to Rihanna. She lived a simple life, running errands and fetching coffee. Nothing interesting ever happened to her. As a child, Caitlin had aspired to be a famous musician herself. However, her mother and father had always put her down. ‘Forget your dreams,’ they’d say. ‘You’ll never amount to anything,’ they used to chant. Caitlin was the youngest child of six. Her parents loved the other five children like they were royalty. She had always been jealous of that. She hated herself for being born the way she was. Caitlin had Down’s syndrome, and she felt excluded from the world because of it. Fortunately, though, she was very able, even if she couldn’t do a vast amount of the things that other people could. Caitlin loved singing. She sang all the time, even in public, she just could not help herself. However, when she thought about her parents, she stopped. One day, a manager at a recording studio heard her while she was getting a round of coffees, and approached her. He said that she was really good, and probably had what it took to make it in the long run. She was shocked, and thought he was joking. Nothing good ever happened to her – the only reason she had taken the assistant job was because she didn’t mind how much she was paid. ‘It’s not a joke,’ he said, and Caitlin began crying with gratefulness. * 18

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caitlin’s story

The show was sold out. She was the headline act. Her parents were there. It was the first time that she had seen them in five years. Caitlin, although she had Down’s syndrome, also had common sense. She turned them away. She had been trying to contact them for such a long time, and it was clear to her that they were gold-digging. She went on stage, and she sang. The crowd adored her. She was a huge hit. For the first time in her life, Caitlin felt accepted.


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What Is a Question? Paris Da Silva

What is a question? Is it an answer within itself? Is it a puzzle that we have to put the pieces of together? Is it a locked door that we need to unlock with our minds? What is a question? Is it a mystery to solve? Is it a book that’s lost its last page, which we have to find? Is it a piece of knowledge that we have not yet found? Is it a part of life to master? What is a question? You tell me‌


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I Saw Viktoria Valcheva

I saw a unicorn cuss a textbook. I saw Donald Duck standing for president. I saw a chicken kiss a cow. I saw a boy fixing his hair. I saw an egg dancing. I saw a dog staring at an alien. I saw Hitler licking a bus. I saw a princess kissing a frog. I saw me. I saw.


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If My School Cost Twenty Million Pounds to Build Riyadh Douali

If my school cost twenty million pounds to build, shouldn’t we have more advanced toilets? Shouldn’t we have robots as teachers? Shouldn’t we have bigger classrooms? Shouldn’t we have chairs with wheels? If my school cost twenty million pounds to build, shouldn’t our teachers be paid more? Shouldn’t our uniforms be free? Shouldn’t we get free pens? If my school cost twenty million pounds to build, why don’t I feel privileged? Why do I feel normal? We are getting a free education. People in Africa don’t have this. Why don’t I feel privileged? I feel spoilt. I often think school is a waste of time. Some children don’t have this. I feel spoilt. 22

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Maximus and the Beast Caleb K-Johnson

Something moved. Others might have thought they’d imagined it, but Maximus’ ears never failed him. He felt the hairs on the back of his neck bristle. Something had changed. He spun round but could see nothing through the dense forest. There was a soft sound to his right and he slowly turned his head. It was a Siberian tiger. Panthera Tigris Altaica. The largest cat in the world. And it looked hungry. How did he know it was Siberian? The stripes. They were not orange and black but white and gold. Also, he was in a Russian forest. Maximus turned around slowly. He maintained eye contact with the beast. He sensed intelligence but also anger. Then it pounced.


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If Donald Trump Was Elected Nazifa Uddin

If Donald Trump was elected to be the president of the United States, then millions of Moslems would have to flee the country. If Donald Trump was elected to be the President of the United States, then where would all the so-called ‘terrorists’ go? The love is being taken away; Islam means peace to the world, not war. You have decided that all the 3.3 million Moslems in America are all terrible terrorists. If you think that then you are wrong. Only a small, stupid group of so-called ‘Moslems’ are brain­ washing innocent youngsters. If Donald Trump was elected to be the President of the United States, then we’re doomed.


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If I Were a Billionaire Nazneen Ahmed

If I were a billionaire, I would give seventy percent of my money to charity. I would help those in need and make them wealthy. If I were a billionaire, I would build schools in those places where education cannot be found, and build parks in the field grounds. If I were a billionaire, I’d save the rest and help my own family, and live happily.


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A Friend A Communal Poem

A friend is someone you gossip with. A friend is someone who cares. A friend is Bernie Sanders. A friend is someone who shares. A friend – a bringer of truth. A friend – the one who saves. A friend – hater of Donald Trump. A friend – someone who shares food. A friend is someone you can relate to. A friend is someone you love and someone you hate. A friend is a loyal dog. A friend is someone to annoy you. A friend is real.


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Day of the Dinosaur Oldi Nanaj

It was an ordinary day. I was in my room, lying down on my soft furry bed, hoping that I would do well in my exams. I could smell the lovely food that my mum was making in the kitchen. I could hear talking and laughter in the sitting room. Suddenly – bang! Crash! Then roar! I was horrified – because I knew what I had heard. It was a dinosaur. I went to the window. His bloody teeth shone in his mouth. He was snatching up frightened people from the street, and eating them. I ran into the sitting room and told everyone what was happening. They were alarmed too, and they huddled up in the corner. I went outside. The dinosaur’s teeth were as sharp as knives and his legs were as big as two elephants’ put together. He was coming closer and closer with every second. I had to do something quickly. By some miracle, I could see a bulldozer. I ran towards it and got in. Controlling the blade, I hit the dinosaur five times in the head, until I was sure that he had died. I was so content that I had done it. The body was taken away, and I went back to my family.


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Money Abdillahi Ali

If money grew on trees, would it be worth anything? If money grew on trees, what would we use instead? If money grew on trees, how would it grow? Would it be worth more as it grew, or would its value stay the same? Would it still wilt like normal leaves? If money grew on trees, what would happen to rich people? If money grew on trees, what would we do with it? If money grew on trees, would the trees all die? If money grew on trees, would it affect other trees? If money grew on trees, how would we buy? If money grew on trees, who would suffer?


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Echoes Aleksandra Piperkova

Dear diary, something very tragic has happened, and it won’t let me rest. My sister died. I loved her so much, she was my favourite person. That was my first mistake. No one told me beforehand not to get too attached to people, anybody, because sooner or later they are going to leave. I was well aware that she was going to leave me someday, but life is a game: you either win or lose. You can cheat – however, if you cheat, you’ve already lost. My sister was a good person. She helped others; she was always looking after other people before herself. ‘Don’t get too attached,’ they said. But it was my sister. I was attached too much already, and do you know what? I’m not sorry. I’m not sorry that I got too attached, because with her it was never too much. She would always say something new. She brought light into every room. I’m not sorry for laughing hysterically at some joke she said, or even laughing at it several weeks later. I’m not sorry for spending every day until now together. My sister, oh, she was an old soul trapped inside a young body. She was the late echo of Marilyn Monroe. Audrey Hepburn. She could not be silenced. God, why did she not see that car? She didn’t care what anybody thought of her. She teased her hair into messy sixties beehives and wore polka dot button-ups and big, circle skirts. She proudly owned a 1968 Mercedes Benz. She spent her time reading, writing and singing. Oh the singing… Oh how I miss the singing… 29

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The beautiful angelic haunting echoes of her pure voice. Some people said that she is the echoes of angels high above the living, pure and beautiful. Her face, fragile like her soul, but hurt her just once and she was as cold as the breath of death. She didn’t waste her time on people who wasted their own. ‘People like them are just 0s, space fillers, to help other people rise up higher.’ I never got that until I sat down and thought long and hard about it. And whoever is reading this, you should too, here: 1,000,000. I could go on forever, talking about how amazing she was, with tears in my eyes. I am realising that I have lost my angel, my guardian, my sister and my best friend. But Heaven is so lucky to have gained its purest, most beautiful soul. It’s the way life goes. It’s life and death, carelessness, tragedy – ups and downs. Just like the echoes of a voice recording, until everything is silent – done. Or like an electrocardiogram. Ups and downs, until there is no more and you die. I will forever love you, Sis. I cannot believe you’re gone and I won’t be able to see you every day at breakfast or picking me up in your amazing car at school, where people would laugh and call you old-fashioned. We just sat there taking it all in, realising that none of them could understand the truly rare and unique. Bye, Sis. I will carry on with my life until we meet again. Soon, your sister, forever. ♥


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Football Kills Edson Cardoso

Playing football as the night falls, get this free kick over the wall. I went for my shot, I was going to miss. Not! Then I saw a girl‌ She was too hot! The shot was miserable, it will not be fixable, however, the girl was irresistible. No longer best, no longer worst, no longer known, no longer exist.


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The Golden Poo Caleb Scotland-Babini

I was on the toilet when I saw a glow begin to emanate from beneath me. Alarmed, I looked down, and I saw gold – gold covered in poo, but gold nonetheless – so I cleaned myself up and got some rubber gloves. I picked it up. It was definitely gold. I washed it, and decided to go to an expert to get it valued. I got into my car. When I got there I asked, ‘So, do you think you could value this?’ As I held it out to him he sniggered and said, ‘Of course.’ After a few minutes, he said, ‘Blimey! This is pure gold!’ I was amazed. ‘Well,’ I said, ‘Could you tell me how much it would be worth?’ ‘I’d say around thirty million pounds.’ I shouted instantly, ‘You’re joking!’ ‘Of course not. I could find you a buyer if you like.’ ‘That would be great. Thank you so much!’ ‘No trouble, but there is the small matter of my fee…’ When I reached the buyer I was amazed. I saw a mansion the size of about four schools. At the gate there was an intercom, into which I said, ‘I’m here about the gold’ and the gate swung open. When I got to the front doors a man came out. ‘Hello,’ he said. ‘You must be Caleb. Let’s talk money, can I see your… item first?’ ‘Of course, of course,’ I replied, and took it out. ‘My goodness, you weren’t joking – it really is a golden poo. Well let’s see, I lost some of the value of my shares this morning, 32

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the golden poo

so I’m afraid I’ll have to give you forty-three million,’ he said, and I fainted. When I awoke I was offered a glass of champagne and a cheque. I accepted of course. I was a millionaire. A few weeks passed and I bought an estate in Scotland, which came with a gun licence (for hunting, of course) and a fishing licence, but they were only usable within the estate. The estate was eight hundred square acres and had a small river on its grounds. But I wasn’t happy. I had a nagging feeling which I tried to ignore, but no amount of parties and expensive alcohol seemed able to fix it. It came to me in a dream: I needed the poo back. But to afford it I would need to sell everything and even then that might not be enough. One day, I received a phone call: ‘It’s me, the person who bought your poo. I’m afraid I need to sell it. You see, my stock dropped eighty points and my board of executives is telling me to sell it. Shall we say two million?’ ‘Sure, why not?’ I replied and immediately at the door there was a knock. I opened and was offered a cheque to sign. After reading the amount, I signed, and was reunited with my poo.


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If Football Never Existed… Lahmar Rose-Edgar

If football never existed I wouldn’t know what to do. I would be a loner. I couldn’t do a skill called the rabona. If football never existed Arsenal wouldn’t be better than Spurs. Spurs could be even worse (even though that’s impossible). If football never existed: No Champions League. No Premier League. No Match of the Day. If football never existed It would be bad for every little boy. They would have no joy. They would have to play with a toy. If football never existed I couldn’t beat Fin at FIFA, I couldn’t play PES, or New Star Soccer. If football never existed what would I do?


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Football! Fin Conway

If football never existed I would be a loner. I couldn’t do a rabona. If football never existed I would be lost. Tottenham wouldn’t beat Arsenal. If football never existed there would be no joy, it would be bad for every boy, they would resort to playing with toys. If football never existed I would just cry. I would eat a lot of fries. If football never existed life wouldn’t be worth living. If football never existed There would be no FIFA, I couldn’t even beat Lahmar. This is what would happen if football never existed.


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Beep, Beep, Bomb Alpi Papaj

There was no one in my surroundings. Everything was dull and boring. Due to the horrible weather, nearly everyone was inside. I was walking home from the shops, just living the life of a normal kid, who felt as dead as a rotting zombie. Moments after I left the shop I heard a loud countdown. After the countdown came an explosion: a bomb! Luckily, I was in a safe location, but my mum, dad and the rest of my family were not. They were within the bomb zone. I cried for hours on end. Later that day I heard sirens and helicopters. It was the army, looking for survivors to torture. That was the day Russia started war with England.


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If There Was No Light in the World Emilia Krzysciak

If there was no light in the world, would I live in fear or get used to the darkness? Would I feel like I’m alone, even though other people would still be here? Would people understand each other more because they would have to listen? If there was no light in the world would I even hear the wolves in the distance begging for illumination? If there was no light in the world would I still have hope that it will once again appear?


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poetry is not a cow

True Friends Bridget Perez

‘Please,’ I said to my mum, begging her to let my two best friends, Bella and Ella, stay the night. I begged her for a few hours and luckily in the end she had enough of me, and agreed. It was getting dark and I heard the doorbell: ding-dong! I nearly fell as I ran down the stairs, and my brother Edson started laughing at me, so I told my mum. Later on, my friends had a crazy idea to go to the woods and play hide and seek. Walking through the opening of the forest I heard a sound: whoo-whoo. I was scared of the dark, but I felt safe with my friends. My friends surrounded me. I didn’t know what was happening and I became more scared. Suddenly Ella took a knife out of her bag. I thought I had all of my life ahead of me but in a flash it was the end. I felt the knife digging into my skin. I felt it ten more times. I fell to the ground, thinking: is someone going to save me…?


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Love A Communal Poem

Love makes everything possible. Love is an emotion that we all experience. Love is something built inside you. Love is full of happiness. Love: a feeling that brightens up your day. Love: the smell of petrol. Love can hurt sometimes. Love is you and me.


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poetry is not a cow

If I Had No Wi-Fi Berdan Altinkaya

If I had no Wi-Fi, would I die a slow, painful death due to boredom, or just live a life that was never meant to be lived? Would school and internet cafés be the only places where the internet exists? (School, unfortunately, being one of the only places where I can’t take out my phone.) If I had no Wi-Fi, would I become a full-time hacker, hacking complicated passwords to access reliable, fast networks? If I had no Wi-Fi, would I stretch my legs out onto the table, waiting for time to breeze by, or would I listen to the agitating, irritating noise of the clock? If I had no Wi-Fi, would I be an all-time reader, who eventually becomes so bored that I read words backwards? If I had no Wi-Fi…


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Me Helin Suruk

Me, I, my, myself. Curly dark hair, Female, tall. It’s me. Me, I, my, myself. Hate thinking, Love drawing, Me, I, my, myself. One big brother, one small brother. Only girl. Me, I, my, myself.


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poetry is not a cow

The Day Kyle Collingwood

It was a day of regret, a day of agony. I stumbled into my home and felt the breeze of cold, whispering in my weak ear; it was as if time had frozen. Silence engulfed the house. My feet trembling, afraid to take a step. The world frozen and eerie. I took one step closer to the living room and it became harder and harder to bear the pain. I heard speaking. It sounded like my mum and dad. It reminded me of the day my mum spoke about my grandad falling ill. I had felt sad since that day. The weather was cold and dark, the accursed thunder stirred the sky, striking my home, and it wobbled! The news came fast like momentary death. M-my‌ uncle‌ no longer alive.


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No Fun in the World Rukiye Demir

If there was no fun in the world, would smiling exist? Would funfairs exist? Would birthdays and Christmas be celebrated? If there was no fun in the world, people would be frowning instead. Boredom fairs would exist instead. Nothing would be celebrated. No presents, instead more sad faces. If there was no fun in the world, humans probably wouldn’t exist.


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poetry is not a cow

My MacBook! Brad Finn

If my sister dropped my MacBook down the stairs she would no longer have an iPhone or wear my shoes. If my sister dropped my MacBook down the stairs I would yank the weave from her head. If my sister dropped my MacBook down the stairs I would take over her room and make her live in the garden. If my sister dropped my MacBook down the stairs I wouldn’t be able to see how Arsenal are better than Spurs. I wouldn’t be able to talk to the bros. If my sister dropped my MacBook down the stairs nothing would go down in the DMs. I wouldn’t be able to download GWB.


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If Dogs Could Talk Keira Reid

If dogs could talk, would we have to send them to school? Would some dogs be smarter than others? Or would they be the same? If dogs could talk, would they fall in love? Would they go out with their friends? Or would they be caged into their homes? If dogs could talk, would dog stereotypes exist? Would they have different personalities? Or would they all be mindless clones? If dogs could talk, could they live in China? Would dogs have different races? Or would living in China be dangerous for dogs? If dogs could talk, would all the films that contain talking dogs become non-fiction? Would Donkey from Shrek be considered normal? Or would those films not exist? If dogs could talk, what dog would I be? 45

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poetry is not a cow

Mahad’s Freedom Mahad Hussein

The fog covered my surroundings like a cloud of thick smog. Everything was as boring as watching paint dry. As I was clipping my ever-growing toe nail, out of NOWHERE a group of honey badgers and pigs came roaming down the street with banners saying: Free Mahad Hussein. WHO was Mahad Hussein? How were pigs and honey badgers able to write? I was so excited that I joined the riot, I felt free like Alpi Papaj. Soon the entire town joined in! SCREEEEEEEEEEEECH! ATTENTION! MAHAD HUSSEIN IS FREE! MAHAD IS FREE…!


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I Saw Eli Tsoneva

I saw a squirrel riding a bike. I saw a unicorn on a train. I saw a singing chicken in a microwave. I saw a fish flirting with a dog. I saw Donald Duck in Wood Green. I saw Viki staring at a bus. I saw a cat swimming in a sink. I saw popcorn on a skateboard. I saw a pen drawing on a table. I saw.


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poetry is not a cow

If Donald Trump Was the President Rowda Mohamed

If Donald Trump was elected to be president, millions of Moslems would have to find a new home. If Donald Trump was elected to be president, all Moslems would suddenly be considered terrorists. If Donald Trump was elected to be president, seeing Moslems would be rare. If Donald Trump was elected to be president, would there be world peace or would war break out? If Donald Trump was elected to be president, half the population of America would disappear. If Donald Trump was elected to be president, it would be Hitler all over again. If Donald Trump was elected to be president, how would anyone live?


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If I Was Normal Melissa Salih

If I was normal, I would never hear the wrath of my parents screaming. I would never feel left out or torn apart. If I was normal, I would never think about what could have been. If I was normal, I wouldn’t be as creative. I wouldn’t be stubborn or ever feel upset. If I was normal, I wouldn’t know what to do. If I was normal, I wouldn’t know what fun means. But wait – there is no normal. Normal doesn’t exist.


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poetry is not a cow

All the Superpowers Ryad Benameur

If I had all the superpowers, would I be a god? Could no one defeat me? Not even the military? Would the power consume me? Would I even be me? If I had all the superpowers, could I be a normal civilian? Could I eat pancakes at IHOP? If I had all the superpowers, would I be immortal? If I had all the superpowers, would criminals also have all the superpowers? If I had all the superpowers, could I sneak into the girls’ locker room‌? (Probably.)


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If I Wasn’t Shadise, Who Would I Be? Shadise Kiya Archer-Read

If I wasn’t Shadise, who would I be? Would I still have an amazing mother who would do anything for me? If I wasn’t Shadise, who would I be? Would I still have my dad to teach me all about the world and everything in it? If I wasn’t Shadise, who would I be? Would I still have my three smart, funny little brothers to always cheer me up? If I wasn’t Shadise, who would I be? Would I have my great friends who are always there for me? If I wasn’t Shadise, who would I be? Would I still have my supportive family to love and care for me? If I wasn’t Shadise, who would I be? Who would I be?


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poetry is not a cow

My Other Half Hasret Altun

It was another week of the summer holidays. As usual, I was at the park sitting beneath the gigantic tree. My favourite. I had named it Bella. There was another lady sitting on a bench next to me. I could sit here, listening to music, watching people enjoying their time and cute little dogs playing around. I could hear, coming from somewhere, the high-pitched voice of a girl screaming for help. She was shouting, ‘Help me, help me!’ I stood up and looked around. No one seemed to have heard the shouting. I asked the lady sitting on the bench if she had heard, and she looked at me as if I had issues. The noise told me to follow the bird. The bird above me led me into a deep, dark place, even though it was such a sunny day. ‘How can it be so dark?’ I thought. There was a girl standing right in front of me. She looked so vulnerable. ‘Hello,’ I said quietly. She turned around. She was wearing a long white dress. We were both pretty identical. On seeing her arm covered with blood I realised why she had been shouting for help. I told her we should go to a hospital. She backed away, giving me a mysterious look. ‘I’m… Look, no one else can see or hear me – you are the only one. This is because I’m your spirit. I am you and you are me,’ she declared. I was thrilled at this. I was here, talking to myself!


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Get Lost A Communal Poem

Get lost inside your imagination. Get lost in your dreams. Get lost in my eyes. Get lost! Get lost, please. Get lost in the forest. Get lost on your flight. Get lost Spurs. Get lost in school. Get lost in your pencil case. Get lost in a book. Get lost NOW!


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poetry is not a cow

Diabetes Miraya Gamsiz

If I wasn’t diabetic, I wouldn’t have to use my insulin four times a day. If I wasn’t diabetic, I wouldn’t need glucose tablets. If I wasn’t diabetic, I wouldn’t have told Shadise that she was kidnapping me. If I wasn’t diabetic, I wouldn’t have to skip lessons (which, to be honest, is nice). If I wasn’t diabetic, I wouldn’t have holes in my fingers from checking my blood sugar millions of times. If I wasn’t diabetic, would I still have my supportive parents and my little brother? If I wasn’t diabetic, I wouldn’t be Miraya.


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Six-Word Autobiographies Amerisa Nutaj. Creative. Accident prone. Different. Amerisa Nutaj My life is an emotional weather. Kyle Collingwood Mahad Hussein is a ballistic animal. Mahad Hussein A crazy, shy, kind, weird girl. Eli Tsoneva I like to stroke my hairline. Alpi Papaj I don’t know who I am. Riyadh Douali I make people laugh, including myself. Aleksandra Piperkova Football, writing, Manchester United, that’s me. Berdan Altinkaya I like to deal in sweets. Bridget Perez Tall. INTELLIGENT. Clever. Bold. Brooding. Composed. Caleb K-Johnson Talkative. Creative. Funny. Thoughtful. Hardworking. Short. Emilia Krzysciak Petty, self-centred, jealous and a friend. Caleb Scotland-Babini I like football. Or do I? Edson Cardoso Hasret: Ambition. Passion. Music. Dream. Believe. Hasret Altun 55

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poetry is not a cow

Helin Suruk: funny, lazy, naughty, Turkish. Helin Suruk Keira: my name will never change. Keira Reid I love Mostack’s gangster with banter. Brad Finn Pathetic little child with horrible thoughts. Abdillahi Ali Nothing else is important except football. Fin Conway Chief Keef is not my name. Lahmar Rose-Edgar I am different on the outside. Leah Mendrys My religion doesn’t determine my identity. Mahema Khalam So much energy, so much food. Melissa Salih Leave me alone. No, seriously. PLEASE! Michal Jedruszczak Miraya is amazing. No one else. Miraya Gamsiz Anime, Anime, Anime, Manga, games, Anime. Ryad Benameur Shadise is amazing. No one else. Shadise Kiya Archer-Read Laughter is the key to success. Nazifa Uddin Caring and always there to help. Nazneen Ahmed Sing, grades, travel and love life. Paris Da Silva A crazy, funny and amazing girl. Viktoria Valcheva Disability or not, never lose hope. Carla Hewitt Dreams creeping silently, a friend forever. Rukiye Demir Donald Trump was my original idea. Rowda Mohamed 56

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Poetry Is Not A Cow: An Anthology by the First Story Group at Woodside High School  
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