Doodle heart on a blank page


Members of the Newbury College community have been expressing themselves as part of this year's National Poetry Day, a UK-wide celebration of poetry, taking place on the first Thursday of October that encourages all to enjoy, discover and share poetry. The day encourages a love of language – and best of all, it’s open to absolutely everyone to join in. 

This year's theme is choice, and members of the Newbury College community, including staff and students, were asked to showcase their own creativity by submitting their own poems, with the best entries being featured on the college's social media platforms throughout the day and one author being awarded with a Kindle Fire tablet.

Communications Officer, Shaun Daubney, who promoted engagement in the event, said: "We like to encourage creativity and self-expression across our College community, and we have been really pleased by the response to this event. This year's theme is really topical, especially in light of the pandemic and climate change."

Students Debbie Lewis and Judith Bennet, and Study Online Tutor Sharon Wiggins, were among those whose poems were selected to be featured. Their poems embrace very different perspectives on the theme, covering aspects such as the choices we made throughout out lives, or the difficulties faced when choice is taken away. 

The annual celebration was founded in 1994 by the charity Forward Arts Foundation, whose mission is to celebrate excellence in poetry and increase its audience, and along with other literary celebrations has been encouraged by the College, where a strong emphasis is placed on the value of English as an essential part of both academic and career development.


Debbie Lewis

Part-time student - GCSE Mathematics

Life is all about choices,
we make them everyday,
from paying bills, choosing tv shows,
it’s the price we have to pay.

A think tank of variety,
an array of 'this or that',
don’t want to appear spoilt for choices,
or even a spoilt brat.

From childhood, they're made for us,
no thought is needed here.
I follow Mum’s instructions,
mistakes could cost her dear.

Adolescence now that’s challenging,
time to think all by myself,
I make the wrong decision,
it could affect my health.

Movies, pub or restaurant,
work or home or swim,
study and revise exams,
work hard out on a limb.

Swot up for that test now,
get my head in books,
swan off to the cinema,
myself, how I could’ve shook.

Driving test is coming up,
bike or motorcar,
either way's expensive,
but both ways I’ll get far.

Finish sixth form, college,
uni or a job,
sitting around on benefits,
become a lazy slob.

Meet my perfect partner,
make it work or fail.
2, 3, 4 or 5 children,
I’ll live to tell the tale.

Growing old together,
40 years have passed,
all those memories gathered,
I love you's not the last.

Burial or cremation?
The final choice is made.
Loved until the last moment,
I wish I could have stayed. 

Judith Bennet

Full-time student - Level 3 Information Technology

There are many things that I can do,
and have done, did and will.
There are things that I’ve regretted too,
and ones that I do still.

For every time I’ve volunteered
there’s an opportunity missed;
For every kind word spoken,
a hurtful one that’s hissed.

Decisions are a freedom,
and some I hope will fade;
These wings a burden on my back,
the choices that I’ve made.

But the future branches out from here,
immeasurable in scope.
I will keep moving forward,
driven, and with hope.

Sharon Wiggins

Tutor - Understanding Autism

Where is my choice?

I did not choose to be born this way,
with a mind that is different from the ‘norm’ they say.

I want a choice; I want a voice, I want a say,
in the life I lead from day to day.

With policy, guidance, and legislation too,
my rights to choose are borne anew.

But how then can it be,
that you are making choices for me.

I have a voice why do you not hear;
I am shouting at you surely its clear.

Look at me closely my expression my eyes,
just maybe you’ll see choices and not surmise.

I did not choose to be born this way,
just hear me, please let me have my say.

Come on you say rise and shine,
but I’m not ready to get up that choice is not mine.

Off to the bathroom for a wash we go,
I stare out of the window it’s starting to snow.

I like a cup of coffee to start off the day,
caffeine is bad for you we’ll have juice today.

I did not want to wear that coat out,
put your coat on it’s cold I hear you shout.

I wanted to stop and play in the snow,
but you pulled me along saying it’s time to go.

I did not choose to be born this way,
should I not make my choices at the end of the day.

I want to go swimming and visit new places,
but your risk assessment prevents these choices.

All activities I have are chosen by you,
I just desperately want to visit the zoo.

It’s time for bed you tuck me in tight,
but I wanted to watch that movie tonight.

I am not tired nor ready for bed,
but you take me back to lay down my head.

Why do you make these choices for me,
if allowed to choose how happy I’d be.

I did not choose to be born this way,
with a mind that is different from the ‘norm’ they say.

Sue Ingleby

Tutor - Health and Social Care

Choices and Dreams

Was it a choice when I took this direction,
or did fate have a part in my road to selection?

My knowledge was power, the power to find,
where my destiny led on the paths which I climbed
or did it reside in the realms of my mind?

When we are young and our future’s unknown,
our dreams are of wealth and maybe owning a home.

But as we grow older our dreams fade away,
to leave the reality, the part we must play
in the ballet of life as our choices decay.

But are they still with us, those dreams from our youth?
Are they driving us forward to show us the truth?

I once had a dream of becoming a nurse,
though life for a long time was far more diverse.
But the flame was still burning and showed me my course.

I followed my dream and my place in the world,
where I found my own rainbow, my true pot of gold.

My place in the world is now different I know,
I can pass on my knowledge to help others grow.

As they start on their journey and maybe they’ll find,
that their dreams are fulfilled and their choices are kind.

Angharad Kerr

Tutor - Electrical Installation


The storm blew over the bins and threw rubbish,
not just ours, over the front garden.

I was supposed to clean it up
but instead I called my mother and wrote this poem.