Tag Archives: E.K. Wall

Slapton’s sand trails – a poem by E K Wall

E K Wall
Slapton’s sand trails

I laid you to rest decades ago,
wrapped in a kid-smooth shroud,
put down in poetry’s casket, festooned
in an adolescent seaweed-string of syllables.
Words filled the gaps between your wax body and
the edges that we never got a chance to go beyond.

I buried you there, in that stretch between
happiness and pain, where the sky
meets the crushed sand and
you cannot hear yourself scream.
Surrounded by days out, debris, remnants
you seemed happy to be let go of.

Digging with a broken plastic spade,
I placed you amongst crabs’ claws, barnacled
limpets, a child’s sandal
unbuckled and useless now.
Love marked the spot, before the tide
turned, and afterwards too.

Ever so gently, I pushed you down
through people’s discarded things,
beneath disposable knives, seagull
droppings, traces of warfare,
centuries of storm.
Rinsed in tears, unable to damage anymore.

With you, I laid all of the things that you
didn’t say, your fingerprints from the
small of my back, an exercise book full of
questions, my grey-schoolgirl anonymity,
your noticing, the way that you made
my little world big.

Yet, still I open my stiff wardrobe sometimes and
find a handful of Slapton sand beneath the
outfits that you loved me in, or
dusting the bottom of the tiny box
where your letters live, breathing their metaphors
into the hanging space where my current life resides.

Sand trails that always lead back to what
we held, like water, in our already full hands.

“Slapton’s sand trails” by E K Wall was commended in the Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition (May 2016) judged by Mandy Pannett.


Results of the Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition (May 2016) Judged by Mandy Pannett

Commended David Smith – Hutton’s Unconformity John Gallas – The Markfield Tomb E K Wall – Slapton’s sand trails   Highly Commended Richard Law – Civil War – Richard Law John Darley – Still Life Elisabeth Sennitt Clough – A … Continue reading

Sentinel Champions August 2015. SLQ Poetry Competition. E K Wall – Highly Commended

The Unloved

Quietly, like the moon breathing,
she folds everything that she is
into the grey handkerchief of herself.

Into her grubby square, she drops
her dead parents’ iced eyes, glazed
over with misgivings, resentments,
disappointment’s cataracts.
(They never could see
the wood for the trees.)

Next, she rests, gently,
her redundant love that
nobody ever wanted. Her
odds and ends, her remnants,
her remains, withdrawn now from
her platter offered to a cruel world.

Juggling, in the cotton rag,
scraps thrown to her over
a lifetime of loneliness and warmth’s
occasional crumbs that she existed on,
she starts to stride out from
her familiar neighbourhood.

Passing stark landmarks, silences,
moments frozen in a dark time,
blurry now, corners where
she was mercilessly taunted,
she walks, her hair salt candyfloss,
towards the cliffs that hold the mad sky up.

And she keeps going.

E K Wall Highly Commended


Once again it gives us great pleasure in announcing the results of the Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry and Short Story Competitions. From the feedback we have had from the adjudicators Jude Dibia and Andy Willoughby, the overall standard of the entries this quarter were particularly high. Willoughby who judged the poetry competition had to ask if we could have 10 commended poems selected for publication in Sentinel Champions instead of our normal 9 as he found it difficult to cut the number down any further. This is a great testament to the contribution our competitions are making to the creation of new literature.

Here are the results of the competitions.


This quarter, our three Highly Commended stories are:

“If” by Ina Claire Gabler

“The Mackwater Seam” by Brindley Hallam Dennis


“Having a Cigarette” by Anne Wilson


The Third Prize of goes to “Are we there yet?” by Andrew Blackman

The Second Prize goes to “Colouring Matthew” by Bruce Harris

and the First Prize has been won by “MRS. MACKENZIE’S SECRET” by EILEEN HOON.


This quarter, our Highly Commended poems are:

”Kaleidoscope” by Ayoola Oyeniyi

“Death in Inverness” by Bruce Gardner


”Jackie Scribbles falls again” by E.K. Wall


The Third Prize goes to “Darling Sleep” by Tabitha Joy

The Second Prize goes to “The World is Flat” by Catherine Edmunds


The Winners and Highly Commended writers in fiction and poetry plus 10 other Commended poets from the January 2011 competitions will be published in Sentinel Champions #8, in November 2011.

The Highly Commended Poets will each receive a signed copy of The Wilds Anthology edited by Andy Willoughby and Bob Beagrie.

Congratulations to all the winners and commended writers.

If you have any questions regarding any aspect of Sentinel Literary Quarterly Writing Competitions, please direct your enquiries to the Competitions Secretary, Sandra Felix competitions@sentinelpoetry.org.uk or to the Administrator, Nnorom Azuonye nnorom.azuonye@sentinelpoetry.org.uk

Results of the SLQ Poetry & Short Story Competitions, January 2011

I would like to thank the judges, Amanda Sington-Williams and Mandy Pannett for jobs well done in adjudicating the January 2011 Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry and Short Story Competitions and for their detailed reports.

Now, to match the titles of the winning and highly-commended works with their writers.

Short Stories (Winners)
Third Prize: ‘Run Boy Run’ by ALISON LOCK
Second Prize: ‘Between Men’ by MARY BYRNE
First Prize: ‘Edgar Doily at the Point’ by DOUGLAS BRUTON

Short Stories (Highly Commended, in no particular order)
No Thing Called Goodbyeby COLIN GALLANT
The Remains of the Dayby VAIJU JOSHI

Poems (Winners)
Third Prize: ‘A Space’ by E.K. WALL
Second Prize: ‘Johnny, Be Good’ by A L McCLIMENS
First Prize: ‘The Over-abundant Woman’ by CASS ISKANDR

Poems (Highly Commended, in no particular order)

Partingby JO BELL

These winners and highly commended writers, together with the authors of the 9 other commended poems in Mandy Pannett’s report will have their work published in Sentinel Champions #7, in August 2011.

Congratulations all.

Sandra Felix
Competitions Secretary


Judge’s Report – SLQ Poetry Competition January 2011


mandypannettphotoThere were many interesting, thought provoking poems among the entries but about 30 stood out for me as exceptional. It was hard to limit my final choices and some of the runners up would have been highly commended if there had been space. When it came to the three prize winners however, I was in no doubt. They are outstanding.

Here is my response to the poems:

First prize: The over-abundant woman

There was never any doubt in my mind that this was going to be my winner. The writer has such control over the subtleties and variations of language. The rhythm is fabulous, line and stanza breaks are spot on, the poet’s voice is strong and assured. I have nothing but ‘abundant’ praise for this winning poem.

Second prize: Johnny, Be Good

I selected this poem, as I did for the winner, for the strength of its voice. There is such vigour here, starting with the wonderful first line ‘The elephants must have been surprised to say the least’ and continuing with a potted history of Rome through to its list of what to do and not to do, its instructions to ‘Johnny’ and all the clues whereby the reader guesses this is John Keats. An imaginative, clever, original poem that sparkles with energy.

Third prize: A space

This poem needs to be read in full to appreciate its beauty and skill. It is a remarkable poem that handles a painful and controversial subject without sentimentality or bias but with sensitivity and compassion and – I’ll have to use the word again – beauty. Here are a few lines but they are all outstanding: the foetus ‘rests now in my curved words/which have created a sunlit space for him/to be everything that he was./And everything he wasn’t.’

Highly Commended:


This poem caught my imagination from its opening lines: ‘We have come where England dips a toe/in the Atlantic and decides/not to go in’ and there are other strong images and phrases – the dry stone wall that ‘puts out its tongue to give me a leg up’ ‘a restless protoplasm that stalks/the land’ Most of all I love the description of stone: ‘Stone knows exactly where it’s going – nowhere…its shallow pan a dazzle of weathers’ This is a fine and original landscape poem.

A Bicycle Wheel

This poem struck me immediately with its energy and vigour. I find the language irresistible : ‘Where’s the rest of it? The mecury dash/of the once sight speed of it? The – oh, God! – /wheel mate of it? The chain that doesn’t chain/ of it? There is humour too: Miss Marple comes into it and Beethoven who ‘never saw a bicycle’ and there are neat details leading to a great last line: ‘inside the shop, cereal/cigarettes, lottery tickets, some chat maybe,/shade and sun on all our molecules.’ This is a vivid poem. Exceptional.


I selected this for its originality, energy and vivid language. It caught my attention from the opening line: ‘Hustler, your business is to always shift’ and I was won over by the description of the river ‘busting’ the ice in ‘toffee-broken planes,/brailled panes and nearly-triangles’ The way the river is addressed directly as ‘You’ ‘Hustler’ and ‘Thief’ adds strength and immediacy which contrasts with the vague, impersonal ‘two forms in the river mist’ who are waiting, directionless, for life to carry them ‘elsewhere’ I like the way that in the last line these two bodies are revealed as the narrator and companion. This hints, subtly, at the situation suggested by the title ‘Parting’


The victims have been named

This is another poem that almost hurts; it is so painful and poignant to read. The rough, exuberant and carefree boys on the block who have squashed into the narrator’s car many times after matches now ‘lie under a sheet on a petrol station forecourt,/ like two kicked-up divots of earth’ This last stanza is shocking in its suddenness, its brevity and its use of understatement. An amazing, powerful poem.

Drinking Games

Here is a brilliantly crafted relationship poem beneath an overlay of meticulously described, commonplace details. I love this writer’s use of syntax. I wish there had been space to give it a higher position.


This poem is rich in its sensory images. We feel the heat of the ‘plastic compartment,’ see and feel the ‘perfect beads’ of sweat on the young girl, taste courgettes, tomatoes and salt. A very fine poem.

The Wrong Children

This is quite a painful poem to read, about disappointment and the gap between hope and reality. The woman has ‘done her best’ but her ideal children are elsewhere, belong to other people or don’t exist. Certainly they are nothing like the brutal, sneering boys she has produced.


A beautifully written, assured poem which handles the myth with skill and originality. It is hard to select my favourite lines; they are all good: ‘his white flanks blinding in the sun’ ‘his luscious pelt, that velvet nose’ ‘your fingers trace the arcs/ of his horns and you’re lost’ ‘tears and sea mingling as strange juice’

Balinese Driver

An apparently simple poem where the guests relax with ‘coffee and cochineal-pink cakes’ and browse through family photo albums, but with a skilful twist in the last stanza which alters our perceptions of the situation as subtly as ‘a glance in the rear-view mirror’


Every word, every image counts here. The street artist is uncertain, full of self-doubt but the language used to describe his dilemma is as strong and vibrant as the light that ‘crackles off tall buildings.’ I think this is an amazing poem.


Here we have the situation of a woman who, discontented with her family life, makes and carries out plans to hide herself in the loft ‘amid the lagging and the gurgling water tank’ at the same time making sure she has plenty of home comforts – ‘necessities’ she calls them. I was intrigued by the narrative, especially the idea of the woman scurrying down to use the bathroom when her husband was asleep or in the garden, but I enjoyed it most for the extended metaphor of a squirrel hoarding provisions, making a comfortable nest and sleeping the winter away.



1st – The Over-abundant Woman

2nd – Johnny, Be Good

3rd – A Space


· Penwith

· A Bicycle Wheel

· Parting

COMMENDED (in no particular order):

· The victims have been named

· Drinking Games

· Sweat

· The Wrong Children

· Europa

· Balinese Driver

· Vincent

· Hibernation

Mandy Pannett