Sophie van der Helder in Year 12, has had her poem 'This System' awarded a Highly Commended at the 2019 Ipswich Poetry Feast.

'This System' is a journey into a teenager’s mind, questioning and challenging the world around them.

Read her imaginative and insightful poem in full below.

Sophie v highly commended Ipswich Poetry Feast

They say you better get an A plus this time round,
Make up for your last exam,
When your effort was sound,

I thought that you had in you,
And that you would do us proud,
But it turns out your results were just a real let down.

Words can’t harm me? That’s a lie.

People around me, their words bite.

Teachers, family, friends and loved ones say that I don’t even even try.

If they knew what it was like,
And took a trip inside my mind,

They might be able to realise,
That I feel trapped and alone inside.

They don’t know my situation,
Only see my outer layer,
And don’t know how much it hurts me,

Every time they call me a failure,

Refuse to listen to excuses,
Everything that I say is useless,
It’s impossible to prove it,
And if I talk back they will lose it.

I wish that you could see, where I’m coming from,
And there is so much wrong, with this system.

The pressure that kids feel,

Pretend that it ain’t real,
Well if that’s the case,
Then please explain my mental state.

I wish you’d understand,
The struggle that’s at hand,
And empathise with those whose lives are not going to plan.
But instead you demand.

You just expect straight A’s,
But have you ever considered
That that is pretty hard to achieve with a mental condition,
Which surprise,
Affects one in five,
So does that make a difference?
You blame it on the fact they’re lazy, when you don’t know their position.

Well her dad just passed away,
And she hasn’t slept in days,
So do you think she can concentrate? When she’s stuck feeling desolate?

What about her friend?
Who can barely afford to spend, a single cent,
Because his family’s in debt.

He lives at home with his mother, who has to care for all his brothers,

‘Cause the man she called her lover, happened to be with another.

There is just no way to fathom,
The depth of someone’s mental chasm,

Don’t say you’ve been there, you haven’t,

Yeah you can’t even imagine.

The stress of studying,
Might just be a bit too much,
For the kids who aren’t aware,
That without A’s they’re still enough.

In it's 17th year, the Ipswich Poetry Feast showcases writing and poetry, giving poets of all ages the opportunity to compete for prizes. Read more about it here.