Category Archives: Poetry

Three poems by Janet Murray

Brock

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.

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Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition (May 2018)

For original, previously unpublished poems in English language on any subject, in any style up to 50 lines long. Closing Date: 31st May 2018 Judge: Derek Adams Prizes: £250 (1st), £100 (2nd), £50 (3rd), £30 x 3 (High Commendation), £15 … Continue reading






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Poem by Audrey Ardern-Jones

Benches on the Prom he fed sea birds here still they squat beside his seat peck air stare sideways wish that his orange quilted anorak would reappear throw crusts * if you are here I am with you two men … Continue reading






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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






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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






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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






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Poem by Lesley Burt

Parish without postcode A sink-hole opens, just where the Priory sat in scrutiny of tweedy textures on Hengistbury Head and, beyond, on asterisks of sunlight that dazzle jet-skiers who ruffle the Solent. Bones of a thousand years drop in underneath … Continue reading






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Poem by Pamela Scobie

Anorexic The elephant in the room is growing smaller even as we sit here. Her skin today is somewhere between grey and khaki, and I am fairly certain that underneath the gorgeous shawl soft hairs are growing along her spine. … Continue reading






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Poem by Laura Potts

The Wise Child I remember he fled from the fogdrop moors with the dawn and the bells of December beyond, calling morning to the streets while winter wept beneath the trees. A sleeping me before the door glowed on behind … Continue reading






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Poem by Andy Dean

Into the Wood 3.15 Relaxation. A new class. It makes us anxious. She places a white orchid on the padded table. There is a torn label on the plastic pot saying REDUCED. Something for you to contemplate. Nature is so … Continue reading