Category Archives: Poems

A Certain Kind of Death – poem by Anne Sheppard

A Certain Kind of Death

She stands in awe of her predicament,
Tight bound and balanced on a precipice,
As hecklers crowd around
Like swords to cut her down.

Soft shoes wet now with effluent that runs,
No chance to hide her fear, the
Gutter tribe around her sneer,
There is the stink of disillusionment.

The precious seconds ticking by,
Each one counted by the scribe,
Until the hangman makes his move,
Feted and regaled a hero by the crowd.

She trembles as she feels the noose
He places round her neck.
Warm breath upon her cheek he speaks,
Soft now, she strains to hear but then no more

For mere distraction as the trapdoor swings;
She feels the drop, the dislocation of her neck,
As darkness moves to cover her,
But not before she hears the cheering of the mass.

A Certain Kind of Death by ANNE SHEPPARD was commended in the Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition (May 2018) judged by Derek Adams

Harbour – poem by Amy Butler


There are strangers in our house now.
They’re parked in the driveway, but
It’s the same stone my father laid,
And re-laid when it fell through that Winter.

The flood took our home. Luckily,
It left the house intact.
Anchor. Bricks and mortar.

The pictures keep falling off the wall.
I wonder if they know I’m on my way out.

Still the strangers stand at the door.
They wear our clothes and eat our food.
They wait for the pictures to fall.
They want to paint the walls.

Photos float ahead of me
Out of reach.

The ocean sits at the harbour.
He’s been waiting all Summer
Where the water sings beneath my skin.

‘Harbour’ by Amy Butler was commended in the Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition (May 2018) judged by Derek Adams.

Inelastic Scattering – poem by Robert Kibble

Inelastic Scattering

If a particle collides and loses energy, that’s inelastic
scattering; where one is slowed down, caught, despite its frantic
efforts to keep going, until it becomes automatic
for it to continue, trying to put behind it the traumatic
events it’s been through, trying to forget the attic
where the particle of my life went through the dramatic
change caused by my boyfriend, the charismatic
star of the class, the straight-A guy, the mathematic
genius. So, when I said what he’d done, they said “over-dramatic”
when they didn’t say lie, or my trembling was “psychosomatic”,
and even my friends said I’d bounce back, like the elastic
particles we’d read of, but for me more problematic
was recovering. They told me to be diplomatic,
not make a fuss, not ruin a life with fantastic
promise. So, I was left with lost energy, my scattering inelastic,
my changes seem permanent, and so drastic.
My mood gone from bubbly, to withdrawn and sarcastic.
My nights spent at home, or increasingly frantic
desires to be so, and unlike the elastic
I’m told I should be. I’m more like the plastic
that bent once remains so, broken and tragic.
I go on, switched now to full automatic.
Just buck up, they say, an insulting tactic
for me: a broken and now inelastic
and scattered body. Because of that attic.

‘Inelastic Scattering’ by Robert Kibble was commended in the Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition (May 2018) judged by Derek Adams.

Something Lurks – poem by Annest Gwilym

Something Lurks

We walk by your side in the silence of crabs
as your mocking laughter ripples
the sea’s crypt. Too close, your mud-flesh
sucks at our feet, sinks them
with sly sips, sucks and swallows.

Your distilled Cretaceous soup is home
to one who drums his fingers in the dark,
jaws snapping in the tunnelling depths.
Long reachings taste children’s legs,
unaware of a huge digestion in the deep.

We bring you gifts of skimmed stones,
cigarette ends, plastic bottles and bags.
You give us the ruin of shells,
vomit a brown yeasty froth,
spit out bodies of the drowned.

During high tides and storms
your fingers reach up our garden paths,
sneak under doors into our houses.
And at night your tentacles whittle down
the star-draped heavens.

‘Something Lurks’ by Annest Gwilym received a Special Mention in the Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition (May 2018) judged by Derek Adams

‘About Light’ – poem by Jude Neale

About Light

I could have died on this road alone
but for the fever of your touch.

You pull crusts off my naked loneliness

and lessen this wake I drag
behind me like a stillborn.

You name my doddering illness
that hides in a bucket of shame.

I’m sorry I forget how to think
about light, trapped

curious curled words
clasped in my trembling hands.

I hope you will love me
despite endings

when I don’t die with longing,

I don’t even die for your lips
to press like wet poppies
onto my white waxen face.

In the end we carry nothing but stones
and skinned knees down to the river.

Bruised and broken we aren’t afraid.
We teeter onto one another’s empty stage

arms suspended like angels before the fall.

‘About Light’ by Jude Neale received a Special Mention in the Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition (May 2018) judged by Derek Adams.

Three poems by Janet Murray


Whacked onto frosty grass,
his fur coat’s soaked in melting ice
but his teeth don’t chatter. His tribal stripe’s there,
tapering arse curved to stumpy tail, muscly shoulders
bolted to giant feet, tipped with muddy claws.
I turn him with both hands, ruffle the fur along his spine,
part thin hair combed over belly-skin,
expose two pink studs, his baby nipples.
They prickle my DNA.

How to write a conceptual poem

Don’t just watch the bees
building in the crevices of your house ―
see the house from inside the cracks
through bee-eyes. Cast thin chasms
with cold cure rubber, squeeze out the mould
like jelly-on-a-plate, fill with black bronze,
bash the crumples, create a petrified meta-script.
Bend into a hopscotch, lay on a pavement
number the squares with chalk, throw
a small cinder ― follow it― jump between edges
judder the mortar and erase it again.

Fold A4 paper, then scalpel-cut
an Amazon journey along the crease, unfold
and cruise a picture-poem ― melt a silver teaspoon
pull a metal skein, spin the tallest story so it crashes down
the full length of Niagara. Search the margins
of old books, find the stain of an ancient flood,
give it centre-stage and re-invent again.

Slash your forearm, forge the blood
into alphabet shapes. Read the letter A aloud
or a word containing A which can’t sprout
from the ground without the pollen-dusting
that attracts the bees and, unlike the bees, resist
the scent of orange blossom wafting through the flues.

A boy and his dog
(Byron at Newstead Abbey)

A boy limps round a gargoyled quad
kicking Autumn crocuses, runs
after Woolly his dog whose mother
was a wolf. The boy always lags behind
because of his damaged foot. They rest
by the Mirror Pond, he trails fingers
for the carp to nibble, regards his reflection.
He eats a bag of figs and peaches picked
from the North wall, and watches wrens flying
round walnut trees. He keeps the Abbey ruins
in sight where he daydreams monks flitting
in and out of cloisters, their faces hidden
by hoods; smells the fragrance of the lavender
garden wafting from their robes, gives names
― Harold, Manfred ― to the satyrs made of lead,
who stand either side of the orangery.

Janet Murray is a Northerner. She grew up in Lancashire and has spent a large part of her life in Sheffield, South Yorkshire. She completed an MA in Writing (with Merit) at Sheffield Hallam University in 2016, and previously gained a BA Hons in English at King’s College London. She has worked as a Senior Manager in public service. Her interests are in visual art and people. These, she says, are her landscape.


Poem by Audrey Ardern-Jones

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Poem by Gabriel Griffin

Noosing the dead I am tired of trying to noose the dead on their blind paths with my garlands of musty flowers, daisy chains and the prickly bracelets of roses. I have laced violets to tenuous ankles, bound ghosts with … Continue reading


Poem by Sandra Galton

Unrequited I walk into a room and the way you pull back a chair for yourself tells me how afraid you are of hurting it. I say are we two peas in a pod? and you stare like there’s never … Continue reading


Poem by Marion Hobday

Bird in Me 1. Candle the shell of me, there’s the fledgling trapped inside. It took a long time to chip my way out. I stretched my baby bird beak wide to the world, featherless, ravenous, insatiable. 2. You know … Continue reading