My first poem aged 16 – Lacking Love

Black and white image of a young Richard Branson in his office
Image by
Virgin Galactic
Richard Branson's signature
Published on 27 August 2015

While previous editions of my weekly trips down memory lane into the Student archives have focused upon issues like the Vietnam War, this week’s blog focuses on another issue every 16-year-old (and 65-year-old!) has on their mind…

I wrote this poem when I was a teenager, with my first girlfriend, a beautiful young Dutch girl, in mind. You can surmise what it is about from the title alone: Lacking Love. It is amusing to look back and see that I thought I was getting old as I entered my seventeenth year!

Here it is in full (and printed below in case the faded paper is too difficult to read) – I hope you enjoy.

Typed poem Lacking Love
Image by

Lacking Love

I am getting old now

and this but my seventeenth year,

holding in a wrinkled, thoughtful head

memories of an age.

Now-without you

out of step with time

as my pen scratches paper

and the clamy grip of censure settles on my hand.

Through all my friends growing quickly younger as I

so fear

this coming and passing of year upon year

without you

You recall, before our parting, little Dutch girl

the time

we exchanged our love and rode along streams together

innumerable streams

on the backs of mountains, and our separate fates

black as smoke waiting above us?


how changed, so changed our days – not my fair thoughts

of you remain the figurehead of life.

By Richard Branson, aged 16, to his first girlfriend.