20 July 2020


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.


She turned to me and spoke

She turned to me and spoke
without even moving her lips
or making any sound at all
as if instead she was, like
all those memories of childhood,
sighing softly in the tissue
of my brain.

Thinking suddenly:
Gregorian monks in prayer,
the truth contained within
ascetic routine, waiting
in silence for speech to form,
within the mind
where words are born.

And amidst all that
cloistered shade, where
sunlight, like the slow
slow movement of the hands
of a clock, comes and goes
untraceably; at least,
that’s how I imagine it.

But I can know this
no better than they can
comprehend the moon, or stop
the sun’s effacement of the night,
left to grasp suddenly
at air and dust, and not quite
as they themselves had been –

like shadows on walls in ’45
which, turning to speak,
found each other dumb.

‘She turned to me and spoke’ by Tom Chivers was first published in Sentinel Poetry (Online) January 2003


The SLQ Monday Writer is Peter Akinlabi – author of ‘Pagan Place’ and ‘Iconography. Read the Interview and poems here.