Poetry Archive Now Wordview 2021: Learning to Succeed

How could it be – the corridor lining

your classroom, the green wire gate,

the store selling boiler parts – should slip

from the default architecture of your sleep?


You sift through scrolls of blueprints only to find

blocky accented lines, bricks and mortar

like molars overcrowding, your rib gaps widening

to expose a window of vital organ.


Your feet no longer fit your footprints, instead

practise how to redistribute the weight

into each stride, draw a map for all the places

you can stockpile steady pockets of breath.


Chicken bone.              Bus stop.

Pothole.                     Leaf.

The wind crossing your cheeks

will speed up further east.


Ask your seconds to sunbathe.

The pencils in your drawer are ready

to shed their cedar, the post-it notes dream

of their moment, heroic, to prevent milk-less tea.


The traffic lights entertain themselves along the A40,

and next to the acorns, sisters

will plant piano keys, extrapolate

where the tarmac might meet your feet.


So whatever the order of your forward:

back, forth, sideways, pause, forth, back,

for you, a cascade of broken chords

in each translated step.

Poem recorded as part of Poetry Archive Now: Wordview 2021. Used by permission of author.

Poetry Archive Now Wordview 2021 Winners

Poetry Archive Now! was established in 2020 to enable us to gather recordings from a much wider pool of talented poets from the UK and ...

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Rachael Li Ming Chong

Rachael Li Ming Chong is a writer, poet and teacher of Chinese Malaysian heritage, born and based in London. She is a commended poet in the Verve Poetry Festival Competition 2022. Her writing has been published in various online platforms and anthologies, including Poetry for Good, Royal Society of Literature, Where We Find Ourselves (Arachne Press, 2021), Words from the Brink (Arachne Press, 2021) and Beginnings (Verve Poetry Press, 2022). She is an alumnus of the HarperCollins Author Academy 2021.


A special thank you to our WordView 2021 poets.

Chair of the Judging Panel, Imtiaz Dharker, says: "An idea that began as a response to the world shutting down has, joyfully, become a way to invite the whole world in. It has been exciting to see the entries come in from different countries, from marginalised voices, from people of all backgrounds who now know this space belongs to them. My fellow judges and I were struck by the immediacy of experience and commitment to language in the winning entries. It's also good to think that the rest of the entries will continue to be seen as an invaluable record of our times."

See the collectionWatch the full Wordview 2021 playlist