An introduction to the Arvon Project

This is a one week creative writing course for 14 young people in care and care-leavers aged 16-24. It provides a unique and invaluable chance for participants to explore their feelings and experiences using creative writing. The course also provides participants with the opportunity to develop their creative writing skills which they can use to open up work opportunities, and for personal development and pleasure.

Based at The Arvon Foundation House, the course is facilitated by highly skilled professional writers and Siblings Together staff. The courses are supported by Lemn Sissay MBE (Poet in residence at the Southbank Centre London), who is himself a care-leaver, and is also a Patron of Siblings Together.

The course was run in 2013, 2014 and 2015.

Detailed below are the creative works of 2014 participants, you can also download a pdf version of the poems from this link.  

For copies of our 2015 Anthology, please contact us.

The Crumbling Peak of Petit Piton

By Nadége René

You are the crumbling peak of Petit Piton.

You are the snatch of the wave on the indigo shore.

You are sulphur that spits from the open mouth of Soufriere’s volcano, you are the gatekeeper to eruption’s door.

And when my life is a streak of dark lines, you’re the blotches of grey.

The nymphs kicking slosh in the swamps of my mind, you are the night when I reach for the day.

You are the echo of my growling stomach, the cracks in loveless heels.

You are the hands that carved my tragedy.

Tell me, how does it feel?

The Blues & The Love

By Shannen Lee Gilbert

Broken pieces of ribbon
Are tying this heart together
I can’t bear for you to dry my tears,
I want them to fall forever.

Plant a kiss upon my wrist
And whisper you love me,
Open scars revealed
If only you could trust me.

Strum on your guitar
Help me sing away the blues…
My heart is so sad; lovers cut hit me so bad
I fell in love viciously with you.

My tears fall
Only for you to catch them with your hand
I never knew you this quality as a man.
To catch my heart, and wrap it up
To follow my soul.

Your magic keeps me,
Your words sweep me, right off of my feet.

You made an undying promise
That you’ll never lie in her sheets
My heart is dying in this loving
River running through me
The knives you threw
Cut me so deep.

Scars of love,
Only to be healed by hate.

Destiny arises
Only to be crushed with fate
Strum on your guitar
Help me sing away the blues
My heart is so sad; lovers cut hit me so bad
I fell viciously in love with you…

I want to be a wolf

By Scott Holding

I want to be a wolf running with a pack of wolves,
Running through the woods looking for food.
I want to be an Alpha male amongst the pack fighting and playing around.
I want to be a main member of the pack,
I am strong, stupid and brave.
I want to be a wolf because I have hunting experience for food,
For the little puppies or cubs.
I want to be a wolf teacher so I can teach the puppies how to hunt for food and how to defend their area.
I want to be a wolf because I’m a caring type of wolf,
I will help anyone that needs it.

Sadness

By Daniel Oliver

6am in the morning, awake.

I go for the morning paper.
I hear a call, ‘morning, Mr Sadness, you can pick them shoes up by noon’

So, Mr Sadness walks on for the paper.
‘Come again, Sadness.’
‘Yes please’.
‘But not so harsh on the desolated people,

I only sell the goods, not make the goods’.

‘Sadness, sadness, sadness, come back’ said the Baker.
‘I have your favourite bread and iced bun for your sadness.
Only £1.55’.
And he gave the money and said ‘must dash, happiness is coming for some pie’.

That night the clock struck 2 o’clock.
Do clocks really strike?
I run like the madness in my life.

Untitled

By Tia Louise Kelly

When you sit by my side and tell me you love me, I can hear the lies in your voice.
The pain you caused by the words you use will be left unspoken.

I am sorry I was not good enough.

I wrote your name in the sky, but the wind blew it away.

I wrote your name in the sand, but the waves washed it away.

I wrote your name in my heart, and forever it will stay.

The Girl Upstairs

By Cassie Clarke

The girl upstairs dances across the floor,
Her drunken foot-falls crashing overhead.
The floor shakes, rattling the pots,
But the empty silence echoes through the halls.

The girl upstairs takes that first drag,
I hear her cough, splutter, then laugh.
They egg her on, they cheer her name,
They say she is one of them.

The girl upstairs mutters to herself,
Packing, cleaning, ready to leave.
She reminds herself of what once had been,
And now knows things will not be the same.

Shame

By Cassie Clarke

She perches in the bedroom,
Staring, scowling at me out the window.
I, in my childlike innocence,
Skip out to play.

As I wake up in the night,
I feel her twisting my spine.
I know she watches me sleep,
Hands forever searching my dreams.

I cannot hide.
She sits with us at dinner,
Her voice drowns out my own.
It echoes through my head,
A constant mockery of who I am.

She follows me everywhere I go,
I try to tell her I am sorry,
I try to tell her. I am sorry.

Note to say sorry

By Cassie Clarke

I am sorry I broke your vase,
I know it was your favourite.
That Pattern that you always admired.
It’s just that it was sat there,
Staring at me, reminding me of her.
I’m sorry

Lovers crumbling fool

By Shannon Lee Gilbert

Whose company do you prefer?
When you’re not with me
You’re with her.

I smell her perfume,
And see her love bites.

My heart breaks in the silence of the night,
I hear your heart beating,
As I lay my head on your chest.

I ask if you love me.

Silence, you ignore my request.
I realise I’ve mixed fantasy with reality.
You un-wrap me and turn your back to me.

I wish I could read your mind,
All those thoughts unread.

I wish I had the courage,
To say all those things unsaid.

Something beautiful in you made me fall in love.
Now I see I was never really worthy enough.

These words of lies you say,
Don’t match the confused games you play.

Harshly I sip my gin, I think about who will win,
And cry solitary tears over you.

To be honest my poppet,
I thought I’d enjoy years of you.

Scars open
My heart opened like a book.

Every brush touch,
Kiss and loving look,
Took for granted,
In a way I never saw coming.

Was I really the only one,
You were loving?

The Past

By Daniel oliver

I remember a dream.
I remember an old school.
I remember an old school mate.
I remember the year 2000.

I remember my daddy
I remember my Grandad,
I remember my soul.

I remember the time I used to be able to sleep
I remember the ring of the lunch time bell,
I remember the first book I read.

I remember my 8th birthday.
I remember my first specialist’s appointment.
I remember my golden fame.
I remember my first pay slip.

I remember my mummy coming to contact centres.
I remember my first song on itunes.
I remember my first pen.
I remember my first scout barge.
I remember what I forgot yesterday.
I remember being told if you think it, you write it.
I remember the care home.
I remember my nokia phone.

I remember the sound of fame.
I remember the day I died.

I remember the care home
You had to watch your back, where you left your stuff.
I remember daddy
He used to buy and sell cars.
He had a Cadillac.

I remember fame.
Two weeks ago, I was in parliament in London
Giving a speech about my life.
I felt like all the people were judging me.

I remember my granddad
He was a pilot.
Upon Concorde.
Google him.

I remember my first pay slip.
It had numbers.
It was real.
All mine.

You’re the…

By Scott Holding

You’re my fourth leaf to my clover
You’re the snow to my ball
You’re the rain to my drop.
You’re the hat to my glove,
You’re the rope to my vine.

You’re the mad to the hatter.
You’re the belt to my trousers,
You’re the lenses to my glasses,
You’re the key to my door.

You’re the hanger to my clothes,
You’re the pole to my curtain,
You’re the sleeve to my coat.

You’re the cap to my bottle,
You’re the blade to my saw,
You’re the can to my coke,
You’re the wick to my candle.

You’re the filter to my fagg,
You’re the lift to my stairs,
You’re the pen to my paper.

You’re the light to my bulb,
You’re the lace to my boot,
You’re the mag to my gun.

You’re the pin to my grenade,
You’re the bullet to my shot,
You’re the engine to my car.

You’re my air to the wheel,
You’re the pipe to my exhaust,
You’re the pots to my plates.

You’re the knife to my fork,
You’re the spoon to my bowl,
You’re the saucer to my cup.

You’re the pattern to my mosaic,
You’re the colour to my picture,
You’re the water to my paint.

You’re the brim to my hat,
You’re the street to my cred,
You’re the sight to my glasses.

I’m sorry for what I have said,
You’re the hills beyond my sight,
You’re the sight to my vision,
You’re the muscle to my body.

You are what makes me.

Gypsy Girl

By Shannen Lee Gilbert


She ran away to the circus of gypsies.
Dined on red wine,
spending lonely nights tipsy.

She performed tricks,
To an audience of Irish.

She read cards of Tarot,
Told futures from a mystical pie dish.

She dressed in skirts that flowed,
Chest adorned with a black lace corset.

She spoke words of wisdom
She would later forget,
Dark curls of silk,

Tumbled down her back.
She walked roads of pain,
Tears,
A hidden track.
She whipped at her horse

And travelled in her cart,
Winding country lanes, desiring in her heart.

The olden secret spells
Written in her books.
White witch craft,
Her spells she will cast.

In one dangerous look…

A grave stone of words
Is all that’s left of her.

Who knew magic would be the death of her?

A gypsy girl.
A woman of forgotten land.
She went by the name of Tara McCann

Oxygen

By Nadége René


I want to be oxygen.

Light, weightless, needed.

I want to be oxygen,

Incredibly invisible.

I want to be oxygen taking your breath away,
When you take for granted the necessity of my kiss,

I want to be oxygen.

I will decay pleading bodies
At my own rate.

I want to be oxygen.

The dying man’s hero.

Restoring life to adrenaline,
Rushed hearts at the tips of my airy fingers.

Sliding in and out of you,
As swift as I exit your mouth in a sigh.

Hospital bed hopping,
Ligament popping,
Kicking you when you’re down,
Like a flame that goes out in the dark.

I want to be oxygen.

Poem

By Naomi Jefferies

When I look into the void of my own eyes I am terrified by the reflection. 
When did this come to be?
When did this monster take habitat?
The glint has now gone.

Bleak drops of tar take their situation.
No emotion is channelled,
back through those tunnels.

Just a void.

A whirlwind of questions. 
These questions unwritten
and therefore have no answer.
Why is a state of being.
What is the question that forces my actions.
Who is the daily reminder that I’m barely existing.
When is the question to prophesise my ending.

Burning Desire

By Charlene Langley

Fire, Fire, burning desire.

Flames scorching wood.
People screaming, flames searing,
Bloody light rising to the sky.

Concrete falling, alarms calling out.

Fire, fire, burning desire.

Glass cracking, splintering, shattering,
Embers drop, the broken clock.
Time is frozen, tick no tock.

Fire, fire, burning desire.

Round and round, in golden flame.
Metal warping and twisting, reduced to pyre.

Sparks are raining, burning brighter.
It’s clear the foundations are straining.

Fire, fire, burning desire.

The flames reach me, I am frozen to the spot.

Mothers trying to shield their young from the flaming tongue.

Metal is molten slag, a man falls to shadow.
Fire, fire, burning desire.

The screaming has ceased.
Rubble shifts as survivors begin to move.
People slowly rise from the clearing smog.
Moans mark out the wounded as they make their way to the exit.
A baby wails as the remaining lights flicker.
Fire, fire, burning desire.

A rumble.
The floor buckles, a pipe ruptures,
Gas rushes in, igniting molten sparks.
The walls crumble.
And fire, fire is born again, a molten maw swallowing all.

Fire, fire, burning desire.

The end has come.
Down into the ground, into the flaming embrace.

Fire, fire, has tarnished desire.

Kissing

By Nadége René

Kissing sadness to silence,
With light strokes of lust on soft lips.

Kissed tented in steamy satin bed-sheets;
In her touch, beats the pulse of her blitz.

And when they kiss,
For that moment it feels
Like the world only exists,
On his lips.

This is a love poem

By Scott Holding

You’re in my heart,
You’re in my soul,
You will forever be a part of me for as long as I live.

I will protect you when you are injured or hurt.
I will be there if you need a shoulder to cry on.
But, I will always be there for you and forever, for as long as I live.

I will be there if you need someone to talk to about anything or everything.
I will always be there for you.
I would die for you, I would put my life on the line for you.
I would give you blood if you needed a blood transfusion,
Or If a car was about to hit you, I will be there to save you, no matter what happens.

I will be there for you forever and ever.

Memories

By Ephrem Tesfaye

I remember a dream.
I remember an old school.
I remember an old school mate.
I remember the year 2000.

I remember my daddy
I remember my Grandad,
I remember my soul.

I remember the time I used to be able to sleep
I remember the ring of the lunch time bell,
I remember the first book I read.

I remember my 8th birthday.
I remember my first specialist’s appointment.
I remember my golden fame.
I remember my first pay slip.

I remember my mummy coming to contact centres.
I remember my first song on itunes.
I remember my first pen.
I remember my first scout barge.
I remember what I forgot yesterday.
I remember being told if you think it, you write it.
I remember the care home.
I remember my nokia phone.

I remember the sound of fame.
I remember the day I died.

I remember the care home
You had to watch your back, where you left your stuff.
I remember daddy
He used to buy and sell cars.
He had a Cadillac.

I remember fame.
Two weeks ago, I was in parliament in London
Giving a speech about my life.
I felt like all the people were judging me.

I remember my granddad
He was a pilot.
Upon Concorde.
Google him.

I remember my first pay slip.
It had numbers.
It was real.
All mine.

The Tower & The Oak

By Cassie Clarke

You’re the broken crest to my rising wave,
You’re the sharpened axe to my fallen oak,
You’re the crumbling tower to my lonely island,
You’re the bad punch line of a misunderstood joke.

You’re the light bulb idea to my struggling writer,
You’re the welcoming hive to my returning bee,
You’re the sturdy wall around my isolated garden,
You’re the New Year to my old January.
You’re the ripped page to my new fantasy,
You’re the stagnant water to my forgotten pond,
You’re the king Henry VIII to my Katherine,
You’re the empty silence when I correspond.

You’re the burning coal to the icy day,
You’re the thrilling birdsong to my early dawn,
You’re the rising first note to my favourite song,
You’re the comfortable breath of my unashamed yawn.

You’re the trails of salt to my ignored tears,
You’re the unbridled laughter to my shared glee,
You’re the welcoming settee after a long day,
I’m sorry for what I cannot be.

Butterfly Tears

By Hannah Sargent

You’re the red to my rose,
You’re the wing to my butterfly.

You’re the blood rushing around my heart,
You’re the only cloud in the blue sky.

You’re the apple that makes me crumble,
You’re the lipstick stain on my coffee cup.

You’re the tune to amazing grace,
You’re the cute eyes on that pup.

You’re the pin that pricked my finger,
You’re the buzzer to the TV game,
You’re the missing piece to my puzzle,
You’re the wild horse, not tamed.

You’re the full stop to my sentence.

You’re the path through the lonely wood,
You’re the snow on top of Snowdonia,
You’re the ripped out page of my book.

You’re the ring pull to my can of coke,
You’re the rusty tap in my bathroom sink.

You’re the green, green grass on my lawn,
You’re the tears in my eyes when I blink.

You’re the fire about to explode,
You’re the writing that’s disappeared,
You’re the baby’s hand with a soft touch,
I miss you, you’re not here.

Bully

By Hannah Sargent

When you push me over,
When you call me names,
When you leave me on the floor crying,
That’s bullying.

When times get too much,
When you push me to the limit,
When I wanted to end my life,
That’s bullying.

The times I tried to finish myself,
The times you kicked me down,
When I gave up on life,
You bullied me, you made me do that.

You made me feel like dirt on the bottom of your shoe.

You made me feel like a nobody.

You were the reason I was in hospital,
It was you, you were the cause.

But I’m a bigger person,
I’m better than that,
I can pull through and not let you get me,
I’m not that bully.

Want.

By Hannah Sargent

Licking the sticky to the envelope
Now I can send this letter to anyone I want.
Standing on top of Snowdonia screaming at the top of my voice
Till the birds fly out of the trees.

Want.

Myself and Claire giggling at the littlest things.

Waking at 7am knowing I have got the rest of the day to do what I want to do.

And as for falling off my horse at show jumping finals

#embarrassing

And I was wearing my good luck shambella bracelet. That wasn’t much use!

Want.

Hearing the pitter patter on my hat as I jump the final jump


But I missed


Jumping onto the ground off the horse I heard a voice say ‘you’re beautiful’,
But holding that heart shaped rock in my hand made me feel loved,
Even if no one did
And going shopping in Cardiff knowing I can buy whatever she wants.

A Penny for a Kiss

By Rebecca Quigley

“A penny for a kiss?” He yelled, standing waist deep in the river,
The cold water flowing into him, the stagnant water sloshing around him,

She shook her head and laughed,
Two children at play.

“A penny for a kiss?” he giggled, like he always did while chasing her down the road.
A burn in his lungs, a stabbing pain in his side, legs now made of Lead.

She shook her head and screamed.
The sounds of amusement scaring the birds.

“A penny for a kiss?” he muttered, bathed in black coal dust his father had trudged home.
Looking into those eyes he so loved, feeling himself falling further.

She shook her head and sighed,
A white linen cloth carefully cleaning his stained cheeks.

“A penny for a kiss?” he croaked, the day before he died,
Raising a fresh rag to his already trembling lips.
She shook her head and cried.

Her pale hands rising to cover her tear stained cheeks.

“A penny for a kiss?” she murmured, at the ghost of his memory’s form,
The cold stone of his grave, the only thing keeping him warm now.

He smiled and shook his head, vanishing.

The times of lost feeling flowing through her veins.

As the World turns to ash.

By Rebecca Quigley

She ignores him,
He calls to her again,
She still ignores him,
He calls her name,
She can’t even hear him,
All she can hear is the harsh wind.

He walks to her,
She stands on top of the hill.
He beckons for her,
She watches the sun set and the snow fall,
He offered her his coat,
She shivers as her dress billows around her.

He wraps his arms around her, embracing her,
She cries, watching as his blood descends to the frozen ground,
He gently raises a hand, stroking it through her hair,
She allows only tears to break through her mask of indifference.

He holds her face between his hands,
She screams as the feeling of powerlessness washes through her fragile form,
He takes her hand, attempting to pull her away,
She stands rooted on the spot,
He asks her what’s wrong.
She watches as the world around her begins to fall to ash.

Slowly, far too slowly, the vision vanishes,
She turns, and walks away,
The path under her feet guides her steps,
She refuses to look where she’s going.

She turns around once more in farewell,
He sees her wave to him,
And yet all she sees
Is the gravestone on the hill.

Poem 3

By Naomi Jefferies

It lives in a dark corner,
It’s there when I can’t cope,
It makes me feel sad
Where fear, there is no hope.

I tried to smile
But fear is there


It’s everywhere I go.

It makes me scared,
I push it away,
It keeps coming back.
It makes me feel alone
I just give it a smack.
It’s always by my side,
Never leaves me alone.

Even in the dark,
It’s creeping through my bones.
I’ll tell it to go,
It will never listen.


Why me?

There’s the whole of Britain.

Wherever I go,
It’s always near.

Walk around the corner,
There is fear.