Monday 29 July 2019


Beth shares a poem about the challenges of starting university and how talking to a friend can help.
- Beth Calverley


They tell her 
it’s the best three years of her life
so she nods and panics.

Other people’s happiness seems frantic.
Their smiles are the marbles she starts to think she’s lost.  

After weeks of missed appointments,
sleep calls their friendship off.

Deadlines blend together.
She looks out at the endless weather.
How much money wasted
if she skips the lecture?

She jolts awake. A message chimes: 
It’s Mum. Just checking you’re alive. 
The kisses that follow make her want to cry.

Nobody knows if she’s eating well.
If she doesn’t leave her room today
there’s no-one to tell,

but she got into debt to do this
so how can she admit 
she thinks she might be sick?

Her mind is a kitchen sink,
heaped with dishes. Her world piles inwards.

At last, a housemate knocks the kettle on,
looks her in the eyes and asks - really asks her 
what’s wrong.

Her voice unravels its sob. 
For once, she doesn’t lie
and say she’s fine. This time,
she admits her crime,
and confesses that she’s sad.

She talks,
while kindness holds her hand -

and the secret that screamed at her silence,
somehow doesn’t sound so bad.

Click here for an audio of Beth reading the poem. 

For information and advice on how you can support a friend at university, click here. 

Beth Calverley is a poet and creative coach. She is the founder of The Poetry Machine, working with people in universities, hospitals, schools, charities and companies across the country to put their emotions into words

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