Poetry of Science 2020

In 2020, Oxford science and idea Festival, IF Oxford, asked young people to write a short poem on any topic of science, using any poetry style. Nearly 600 entries from across the UK ranged from limericks and rap to haiku and acrostic poems.

The winning entries and runners-up are published here, with all 11 poems performed at IF Oxford: 17 October 2020.

School Years 1-2

Judges’ Choice


By Anna Bevington (age 7)

Smooth slippery eggs on a stinging nettle
Pop scurry wiggle
Caterpillar hatching
Wiggle wiggle “where’s my mum?!”

HAHAHA that tickles!
Fluffy back, spiky fur
“Gosh I am fat.”

I am making a little house
Called a chrysalis
I will rest for more than 2 weeks
And when I come out I will be a…

It’s a squash and a squeeze
As I wriggle my way out of the little house
The sun is so bright
The world is so noisy

I AM A BUTTERFLY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Wild and free
Nervous and exited


Ten things found in a doctor’s pocket

By Yusif Obaydi (age 6)

A kind heart to care for others

A stethoscope to check for health

A sweet smile to make patients feel safe

A face mask to protect everyone

A strong body to work hard

A vaccine to make people better

A long day to look after all the ill people

A cup of coffee to stay awake

A lot of love to keep working

A superhero cape to keep going!


I’m a scientist

by Adam Barstow (age 5)

I’m a scientist, I love doing potions
I learn about experiments, food chains and motions

I ask questions like why and how
when I see the results, I always say wow

I love habitats, acids and alkalis
Isaac Newton, what a great guy!

But my favourite thing is to learn about force
Oh and the periodic table, of course.

So do some little tests and be a scientist
It really is the best.


School Years 3 - 6

Judges’ Choice

Computer Jargon Jubilation

by Gabriel Richmond (age 10)

The apple was sour

When I bit into it

And full of bugs,

So instead I took a byte

From a delicious cookie.


The popular daemon took

A googol of years

To read all the hot mail

From his adoring fans in Java.


The macintosh leaked in four bits

Because something gave it a nibble

So the man consulted the Oracle,

Who recommended feeding his mouse to a python.


The girl on safari stopped dancing samba

To start to make a spam sandwich

Which she ate on the swing,

While her tomcat watched in deep envy.


Nature has dealt us a Trojan Horse

COVID 19 virus has us all

Locked down inside a worldwide web.


All of a sudden

by Jessica Moorhouse (age 10)

Darkness, empty, silent,
Nothing until,
All of a sudden…
Explosion, a colossal spectrum of Light,
The big bang causing,
Illumination, heavenly bodies,
Barren, empty globes,
Nothing else until,
All of a sudden…
Eruption, scorching, hydrothermal chimneys,
Deep sea vents detonated causing,
Life, organic growth,
Gradual, insignificant, growth,
Nothing else until,
All of a sudden…
Changes, significant, evolving,
Immense life survives in water causing,
quicker progression and development.
Life becomes larger,
Nothing else until,
All of a sudden…
Movement and migration
Adapting to survive on land causing,
Fearsome Great Lizards, enormous prehistoric mammals.

Momentous beasts living in peace,
Nothing else until,
All of a sudden…

In harmony with the planet, beings growing in knowledge,
Homo Sapiens arise causing,
Incalculable populations, economic growth,

Locusts obliterating natural resources,
Exterminating life,
Battling egotistically,
We must change.



Heavenly Hunters

by Nadine Helsby (age 8)

The art of invisibility
Blends into the background
Unseen, camouflaged to perfection

Silent wings
Wingbeats make no sound
Gliding effortlessly in the night sky

Night sight
Forward-facing eyes
Focused watching weapons

Sounds of the night
Highly developed hearing
Face like a satellite dish, turning 270°

Talons of death
Hands that seize and hold secure
Deployed with pinpoint accuracy

Skilfully perched and waiting intently
Swoops on unsuspecting prey

Aerial searching
Hunting on the wing
Always looking out

Catching flying 6-legged prey
Keeps moving, never stops

Scavenging and piracy
Powerful, capable, but not above stealing
A last resort and lifeline for the young

Wise angler
Skims the water snatching fish
Wades in for crab

Heavenly Hunters
Designed and adapted
By our amazing Creator!


An oak tree stands by the riverside

by Toby Glithro (age 10)

An oak tree stands by the riverside
a thousand years old, maybe more
his majesty of the forest

An oak tree stands by the riverside
antlers piercing the canopy
home to innumerable creatures
beetles burrowing
caterpillars crawling
an egg nursery
a nesting site for all

An oak tree stands by the riverside
an autotroph
his roots gold mines assisted by mycorrhizal fungi
drilling for water
a photosynthetic battery of energy lies at his core
powered by his green solar panels

An oak tree stands by the riverside
tall and still
do not doubt his humbleness
he is king of nature
his brothers princes
do not doubt his value

An oak tree stands by the riverside
the lungs of the world
our very breath
next time you see one
think of that

An oak tree stands by the riverside
for how long is up to you…

School Years 7 - 11

Judges’ Choice

My Brain

by Hope Nori

My brain is sectioned,
Into to two different parts,
Split in the middle,
Named the left and the right,
The left is my scientist,
Filled with logic and knowledge,
It calculates my equations,
And plays with numbers like magic,

However, without the left
The right could never survive,
And the left could never be,
Completely right,
So they join,
Two halves of one
Making my brain
A very special one

A master of words,
And languages alike,
It is realistic,
It is always right.
The right is my artist,
A spirit roaming free,
It is the reason why I dance,
In the middle of the night,
The right decides,
The expression on my face,
And what type of smile,
Will light up someone’s day.



by Michael Coleman (age 15)

My eyes daze shut.
In a flash, I’m gone.
We’re gone.

Venturing through a vast cosmos
Venturing through an unparalleled unknown
My eyes twitch,
My hairs itch,
I’m suddenly, all alone.

Stuck at the rudiments of space and time
Trapped. In a dense formation of preternatural slime
Elements Collide,
Temperatures rise,
BANG! The Earth is alive.

An angry sphere of flaming fire
Molten. Monstrous. Magnificent.
Fazed in response to the performance before me
Trembling at awe to the magnificence of glory
Questioning my fear of the flame.

An unanticipated cry of irreparable climax,
Displays of divine emotion.
Shrieks and shakes and trembling tremors,
The melting of molten crust.

The Earth is formed,
In all its glory.
A true spectacle of lava and light,
Shrouded by the enigma of night.


Corona Fountain

by Dylan Allman (age 13)

A stellar corona
Unseen in normal skies
Reaching far into space
On the sun’s surface it lies

I step outside, experience the light
But unlike the virus
Keeping me home
This corona is radiant and bright

The sun’s rays beam down
Photovoltaic cells rejoice
Light energy converts to electricity
The pump begins to finds its voice

Pressure builds, excitement mounts
Water whizzes in a centrifugal spin
Up the tube, springing to life
Kinetic energy bursts into hymn

The wondrous display, it doesn’t last
No battery so no energy store
Clouds appear up in the sky
The fountain is almost…ethereal

As night-time falls once more
Not a buzz or bubble is heard
It’s still there, but we cannot see
And my eyes become blurred

I wipe the tears about the corona
That spreads darkness and fear all round
Wishing we could harness this other one
With light and positive energy abound


Mechanical Heart

by Zara King (age 15)

Beatbeat. Beatbeat. Beatbeat.

Muscle contract. Pull tight. Squeeze.
Muscle relax. Release tension. Loosen.

Quick, now. Move quicker
like an oiled machine,
chugging and groaning and powering.
Slaving away
like a battered engine,
pushing and huffing and pounding.

Muscle contract. Pull tight. Squeeze.
Squeeze. Squeeze.
Beat. Beat. Beat.

Run, now. Run smoother
like a fresh train on new tracks,
racing and pumping and rushing.
Gliding away
like a growling sports car,
sprinting and panting and zooming.

Oil those rusty iron hinges
and polish titanium springs.
Solder those crackling wires
and tighten loose bolts.

Beatbeat. Beatbeat. Beatbeat.