31 July 2020

Read of the day


The tree of death is saving my life.
My skin burns with the sunset and rust
of its leaf, its sap, its poison in proportion
to how much to kill, how much to save.
Graveyard tree, roots hollowing passages
in the Underworld I might travel from
to crook a sky in an elbow of branch.

Taxotere, Agent Chemotherapy, yew and me
wedged together, become each other – wedded
blood to blood. Remember me? I climbed you,
maimed you, saved your leaves for this – knew you
hated interference, amputation. I swept up your leaves
like tears – rage not sorrow. Now you have me.
This time I can’t descend without consent,
can’t let go. I’m hooked on you.

Lest I catch my death of you, be my angel
either way, releaf me from this half-life.

‘Yew’ by Ruth Calway won second prize in the Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition (August 2019) judged by Roger Elkin.

Congratulations to ROGER ELKIN – Sentinel poet and regular SLQ competition judge for achieving his 60th First Prize in Poetry competitions at the Confederation of Writers Scotland. Elkin is the author of Marking Time (SPM Publications). His 12th collection Sheer Poetry will be published in September 2020.

Blast from the past

Chika Unigwe Photo: Paddy Anigbo

My Uncle’s Red Vest

There is a red vest
Hung out on my laundry line
Billowing in the wind
That is my uncle
Or all that is left of him
You never knew him. You should have
He danced like the wind
Blowing us all away
With his intensity
For a life
He loved to live
But which failed him
He was called away
Way too soon
And I am left
With this red vest.


‘My Uncle’s Red Vest’ by Chika Unigwe was published in Sentinel Poetry (Online) in March 2003. Unigwe is the author of The Phoenix, On Black Sisters’ Street, The Black Messiah and Better Never than Late.


Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition (July 2020)
Closing date: 31 July 2020
Judge: Terry Jones
This competition is for original, previously unpublished poems in English language, on any subject, in any style up to 50 lines long. Poems posted on members-only non-public groups for review/critique as part of the creative process are not deemed to have been previously published. Poets of all ages, gender or nationality living in any part of the world are eligible to enter.

Prizes: £250 (1st), £100 (2nd), £50 (3rd), £30 x 3 (High Commendation), £15 x (Commendation), 3 x SLQ Paperback (Special Mentions)

Fees £5/1, £8/2, £10/3, £12/4, £14/5, £16/7, £22/10)

Results: 31 August, 2020

Publication: Prize-winning, commended and specially mentioned poems will receive first publication in Sentinel Literary Quarterly magazine (online and print).

Enter competition now >>

Follow Sentinel Literary Quarterly on Facebook and Twitter

Home | SLQ Daily | Contact: slqdaily@sentinelquarterly.com