Category Archives: Poetry

Greta Ross – Henry Hall’s Lighthouse

I was a sender of light, night-born,
hard-bright, single-minded,
focused on the task I was built for
and stood praised by all.
Mermaids rose to be dazzled and chased,
smugglers learned to mark my stare.
I was a silver sword in black water
slicing the treacherous Cornish sea.

When I turned sudden-blind
two hundred men drowned
in a storm-racked ship adrift,
its fluttering sails frantic
like moths for my guttering flame.
In 1755, with candled head afire,
I drip-sealed the keeper’s guts
with weeping molten lead.

Now his cries stitch the wind blasts
that whip the Eddystone Rocks.

‘Henry Hall’s Lighthouse’ by Greta Ross received a special mention in the Sentinel Literary Quarterly poetry competition (August 2019) judged by Roger Elkin

Kevin O’Brien – Do I Love You? Well now…

Was Nigel Kennedy classically trained
Was David Beckham’s hamstring ever strained

Does the Prime Minister have the odd sleepless night
Is Tyson Fury any good in a fight

Did Florence Nightingale make good use of a lamp
Is Julian Clary slightly camp

Do nuns occasionally get into bad habits
Does Watership Down contain gratuitous scenes of rabbits

Is the average basketball player un-averagely tall
Does pride inevitably presage a fall

Would the Beatles let you drive their car
Is Eric Clapton any good on guitar

Could Torvill and Dean stay upright on ice
Does a risotto require a portion of rice

Does the Queen of England look good on a horse
Can Thor’s ethnic group be described as ‘Norse’

Is Usain Bolt quite fast in a sprint
Are Willy Shakespeare’s plays still available in print

Is the Dalai Lama wise
Did Lance Armstrong tell porky pies

Did Bill Gates make a fair bit of money
Do Australians call a toilet a dunny

Was Ian Botham well known in cricket
Did Cleopatra stump Anthony’s middle wicket

I hope you’re under no hint of illusion
Or hold mixed feelings, doubt or any confusion

For if you find any of the above to be true
Then you’ll know how much I love you

‘Do I Love You? Well now…’ by Kevin O’Brien received a Special Mention in the Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition (August 2019) judged by Roger Elkin.

Kevin O’Brien

Cheryl Pearson

My Mother’s Hands

A mouse was the first death I touched. Soft apostrophe cupped
from grass and carried to my mother’s scream. She scrubbed

my palms until they pulsed, one heartbeat each. Now I watch her
cup the room where love and death sit nose to nose: her father

shrunk to wires and lights, his hands in hers. She urges oil
to each dry crease. His knuckles gnarled as root ginger. Hers

bright with grease. I think of the fevers I weathered young,
tossed on a hot sea of sheets. Always there: my mother’s murmur,

kind hands. Cool on a cheek. The yellowed pads I liked
that smelt of smoke. The raw flakes under her wedding ring.

I never wanted teething-beads to gum, the kiss of plasters
on a cut. I wanted hands and gentling, the way you’d stroke

a horse who’d spook. The way how here she tucks him in,
fits the clear straw to the drooped lip. I sit with her. With him.

We watch him dwindle for a week. And when his light goes out,
I hold her as she shakes and weeps. She cannot still. Her hands

mill the air, two birds disturbed. She has no parents now. How
old she looks. How thin. I take her hands in mine. I take her in.

**********
‘My Mother’s Hands’ by Cheryl Pearson won 1st Prize in the Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition (March/April 2020) judged by Mandy Pannett.