Category Archives: Poems

Christopher Taylor – On My Return

ON MY RETURN

If I have been away beyond the burn,
if you blinked twice and didn’t see me go,
examine me for change on my return.

Through forests damp, on moss and branch I turn,
not flinching at the croak of beady crow,
if I have been away beyond the burn.

Across the moor, past each unrolling fern,
I come to you in the first dust of snow;
examine me for change on my return.

While surfacing to daylight, I discern,
in that dark water, voices who would know
if I have been away beyond the burn.

The heavy earth, the frigid air, the churn
of slanting sun, the blinding evening’s glow
examine me for change on my return.

We family around our campfire learn
to watch for strangers in the shadows, so
if I have been away beyond the burn,
examine me for change on my return.


‘On My Return’ by Christopher Taylor received a special mention in the Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition (July 2021) judged by Paul McDonald.


Christopher Taylor

Christopher Taylor grew up in Northumberland and has lived in various parts of England, Africa and Asia. He works as a freelance applied mathematician. In his spare time he likes to go hiking, read novels and play the guitar. He currently divides his time between Devon and Taiwan.

Lesley Burt – Goodbye Good-Time George

….GOODBYE GOOD-TIME GEORGE


‘Goodbye Good-Time George’ by Lesley Burt was commended in the Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition (July 2021) judged by Paul McDonald.


Lesley Burt

Following retirement from social work education, Lesley completed an MA in Creative Writing from Lancaster University. Her poems have been published widely in magazines including: Tears in the FenceThe Interpreter’s House, Prole, Sentinel Literary Quarterly, Reach, Sarasvati and The Butchers Dog; also online, including in Poetry KitThe Poetry Shed, Algebra of Owls and Ink, Sweat and Tears. 

Michaela Coplen – Knot

KNOT

The stretch of pavement off the road, where the new-builds were never built, where if in dark and his dad’s black car we kept the engine off,

and so were indistinguishable from mounds of upturned dirt, was the place
of our necessity, the place that, on a ready night, having tendered our excuses,

we would drive ourselves, past the billboard lights, the cows in their low blue barn, a narrowing (my nails sunk in the leather seat for purchase, the car a larger cage

we let the animal inside) — and when we parked, with swollen words,
the automatic chuckle, he would eager, and unbuckle, I would put myself

to task, to task to task to task, his plunging urge
my course of study — oh ever-willing subject of the list I had to tick —

and most nights, this was it: a clutch, a minute then of rest,
a fog of breath we’d smear around the windows with our shirts —

but one night, we reversed, he wanted, no he really did, he was sure he could, I said he could, I had no hints to give, he spent hours

trying everything — hitch, bend, twist — while I watched him from inside of me; I tightened me to it; in the dark, his hand

became the shadow of a hand — that other hand, he didn’t know,
I didn’t ever tell him, I was still so in the yoke of it, how could I really

tell him, that the thrum of pleasure had a chord of fear caught up
in it — the slip knot I could never slip, I couldn’t make myself slip.


Knot by Michaela Coplen was highly commended in the Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition (July 2021) judged by Paul McDonald.


Michaela Coplen

Michaela Coplen is a poet and doctoral candidate at the University of Oxford. She earned her BA from Vassar College, where she served as a poetry editor for the Vassar Review. Her poems have been published online with The Atlantic and Poets.org, as well as in the Bellevue Literary Review and Up the Staircase Quarterly. She won the 2019 Troubadour International Poetry Prize, the 2020 York Poetry Prize, and was included in the 2020 Best New Poets anthology. Her work can be found at: michaelacoplen.com