Category Archives: Competitions

Mark Totterdell

The Parrot and the Dove

Inside, beyond the pane, behind the bars,
he’s in his tight suit of matt-grey chain-mail,
clacking the keyless padlock of his beak,
flaring his crimson molten-metal tail.

She flutters unfettered across an open sky.
Her black velvet collar is undone. Her scale,
her shape, her shade, suggest she’s his far sister,
set up the parallel, the glib freedom-fable.

But what if the tiny birdcage of her self
is utter, inescapable constraint?
What if his dark eyes easily encompass
a world unwalled, unroofed and infinite?

*****
The Parrot and the Dove by Mark Totterdell was commended in the Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition (May 2019) judged by Terry Jones.

G. E. Stevens

Non-native

Whenever my mother spoke French
green birds flew into the kitchen.
They circled the formica table — so fast
that green became a whining sound.

The birds they sang my mother young,
her shiny ankles asking to be seen.
They sang her slender arms, holding open spaces
then leaving them, drunk on each new idiom.
They sang my mother lace.

And when the birds left, as they always did,
I watched her knot the apron ties
behind her back,
like a well-worn magic trick.

*****
Non-Native by G.E. Stevens was commended in the Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition (May 2019) judged by Terry Jones.

Helen Eastman

Mooring

Bringing a boat into a jetty is a precise art.
Come in at too steep an angle and you’ll bump.
Too shallow and you risk being marooned in parallel
with a mocking gulf of water inbetween.
There are so many factors to take into consideration –
wind and current and momentum. And I am

negotiating all of this, while trying to listen to your
abrupt change of subject. Perhaps you have panicked
as you realise this little gesture at romance
is coming to a close. And I realize we are racing each other –
your words, against my floundering attempt to
tether us. I’m lobbing the painter at a cleat, and looking

anywhere you’re not. If we can just make it ashore,
and up the winding path to the pub…
two beers might take the edge of this thing
I know that you have decided to say. And suddenly
I think that I’ll never want to go rowing on this lake again
and losing this childhood pleasure might actually be worse
than whatever else is coming.

*****
Mooring by Helen Eastman was commended in the Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition (May 2019) judged by Terry Jones.