• Lily Newman

'Cyclical Burn Out' by Georgina Dent

Georgina Dent is a current BA English student at the University of Plymouth in the final few months of her degree. In September she will be starting her Masters in Publishing.


Her poem 'cyclical burn out' was written in reaction to feeling like we should be working and staying busy all the time but in actual fact we're just stuck in a vicious circle.


GD: "The poem explores the effect that burn-out has in today's 'hustle culture': the connotations of feeling like we should be working and keeping busy all the time when in actual fact we are trapped in a tiring and stressful cycle of overworking ourselves and paying the price for it. I (like many others) am guilty of having an ‘I’ll sleep when I’m dead’ mentality about work and then becoming hugely overwhelmed, so I wanted to convey that in my poem."


cyclical burn out


cigarette stub, matchstick end,

she’s burnt out, hands to her ears,

piercing pitch like a cleaver in her skull.

she welcomes the lobotomy brought on by

a continuous string of yes’s, tied in

sailors knots; no room for a break.


she tightens a tourniquet of expectations,

pressure applied by herself; splitting,

not quite twenty five hours in a day,

she breaks her bones to stretch further,

tearing ligaments to grab the lighter

thumbprint on the spark wheel, grating,


no stopping, just a pile of ash on the floor.


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