Today, 21 March, is the annual celebration of World Poetry Day. It is a day to honour and recognise poets and one of the most beloved and appreciated forms of expression.

To mark the occasion, Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO, shares this message,

Arranged in words, coloured with images, struck with the right meter, the power of poetry has  no  match. As an  intimate  form  of  expression that opens doors to others,  poetry enriches the dialogue that catalyses all human progress,  and is more necessary than ever in turbulent times.

It seems appropriate to share and honour the work of our local poets, the winners of Senior School Voorschoten’s (SSV) National Poetry Day competition, held earlier this school year, on 7 October.

UK Poetry Day at an International School in

SSV student reading a poem on Nationational Poetry Day, 2020

We were so pleased with the number of students who got involved in National Poetry Day here at Senior School Voorschoten. We received 86 poetry entries in total on the theme of ‘Choice’ from students of all year groups in SSV. The quality of these poems was excellent and clearly displayed the creativity of our students.
On the day itself, students and staff took to the stage in the Atrium to give poetry readings at lunchtime. Considering how difficult the past few years have been, we felt that it was important to give our students an outlet to express their thoughts and emotions; luckily, poetry provided a medium in which to do this. We are so proud of our students and look forward to celebrating this year’s National Poetry Day on the theme of ‘The Environment’ here at The BSN.

Jonathan LapinskasDeputy Head of English, Senior School Voorschoten

Everyone has a choice;

Everyone has a right;

From an old pit bull to the youngest chihuahua;

From a vicious beast to a gentle soul;

Who has the right to destroy a life?

Who has the right to punish for mistakes?

Every creature deserves a chance no matter how big or small;

Every creature deserves to live their life;

Don’t be the cause for a death;

Don’t be the cause for loss;

Be kind;

Be a hero and help a soul in need;

Give them a chance whether it’s their first or third;

Give them a life;

Make a choice and, when you do,;

Make the right one.

Year 7 SSV Student

(Approximately 1.5 million dogs are euthanised each year, worldwide, 40 percent of them are pit bulls. Even more cats are killed.)

You stand on their side

and do nothing but

watch, let the horrors

you see before you

unfold as eyes wide,

they smile and you let

them tell you that you

are right.


But when that second

comes and it becomes

your voice that differs

from theirs, they do not

smile, they pick a frown,

they tell you that they

are right.


But in the end, you

dare to not stay there;

not let them dictate

which path that you take


You tell them ‘what of

that road – bright, busy

and wide?’ Tell them you

will walk this single-

plank plain bridge into

the night.

Su Eker

Instead of using a car lazily,

Just walk for our world bravely.

Instead of charging our Pros at night,

Just often write.

Instead of using plastic straws,

Use metal to keep the turtles alive.

Instead of throwing away plastic away,

Use our mistakes to change our way.

Instead of running away,

Face the problem and it’ll be okay.

Just don’t run away,

Or our world will be washed away…

Year 8 SSV Student

Instead of doubt,

Please walk me down the pathway of belief.

Instead of sadness,

Please lead me to the land of happiness.

Instead of guilt,

Please talk me through a guide of innocence.

Year 8 SSV Student

The prison walls etch scars into my skin
One day, I’ll be released and hear the bluebirds sing
Freedom to me is but mist

Fleeting and only the dream of a fantasist
I’m stuck in here for crimes I did not commit
For crimes too hellish for anyone to admit
Do you really think I could do what I said?
Shoot a man, a man, and leave him for dead

I am here you know!
Living and breathing flesh
Locked away in a prison of stone

Let me go I scream
Fire and lies run through my bloodstream
Let me go I cry
A slap in the face if I defy
Let me go I write
By the withering flame of a bed light
They made their choice locking me up
Throwing away the key, making the wardens tie me up

I am here you know!
Living and breathing flesh
Locked away in a prison of stone

Betrayed and deceived by the system we call justice
Betrayed by the camera that never catches the injustice
Are you sure you know what you read is true?
Or is it the rabbit hole that you fall through?
When given the choice to fly
Do you take it or do you die?
Would you choose to make history?
Or let your life stay a mystery

I am here you know!
Living and breathing flesh
Locked away in a prison of stone

Year 11 SSV Student

Chop, sew, clean,
A little more, and a little less won’t hurt.
In the real world, my love,
freedom is a dog’s meal,
Not allowed to curse at its sour taste.

The warm blanket of dependence covers us.
Pull down the curtains and come back to sleep
In our comfort – my love,
Cold stone are the lonely hearts of those
Who pave the path of –

Success! Don’t question this word and
Its evil – lt breaks us and seasons the wounds.
Be afraid, my love,
How can we survive with just dreams?
You are me and I am you.

Tormented by nightmares of a world more
Glorious than this –
Don’t let it fool you, my love –
The devil preys on the ones who
Deviate from our gifted path.

Brush the dust off tales and legends,
Mist the evergreen flower room.
Stay here, my love –
Think too much of your will and you’ll
Forget ours too.

Year 11 SSV Student

We all acquire standards
But we never get answers.
People direct our play
With no hear of our say.
They decide our routines
With no sense of what it means.
Their visions are blurred
And the victims never get heard.
We have no control
And no breath for our soul.
We need to break through
We need to reach the great blue…

Year 7 SSV Student

Why are you here?

you’re no fun

liven up, why don’t you?

Stop talking to me.

“why won’t you be quiet”

i’m talking because you want me to

I didn’t

I didn’t ask for any of this.

“i didn’t ask for you.”

you’re already thirty minutes late

just get ready


I simply


“i’m so unmotivated, so-”

you’re just lazy


stop it

snap out of it

get it together

and suck it up

You expect me to ‘suck it up’?

Standing in front of you has taken all my will power.

I have chosen to get out of bed

I have chosen to try

But that’s all I can do.

“don’t come here and tell me that”

you should just smile

just be happy

choose to be happy

As if I haven’t tried that.

I’ve tried everything.

I’ve tried my best.

maybe you’re just not trying hard enough

you don’t want it enough

maybe you



“i’ve failed and-”

you should just cheer up.

“happiness is a choice”

The mirror shatters under my fist.


(now only read the middle row)

Year 10 SSV Student

English Lesson at Senior School Voorschoten and International School in The Hague

Congratulations to the upper and lower school winners from each of the Houses!

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