Tag Archives: terry jones

Zoe McCann

The Harp

I was deep in my books when it broke
through the evening: a golden unspooling
of music so beautiful, I rose from my chair
like a woman in thrall. A song made of water,
Hyperion’s daughter could not have conducted
a more ineluctable spell than the swell
of that heavenly air. In the pluck of those strings
was the pattern of things. I froze and I listened,
as each ringing note spoke of truth with an ease
that rebuked industry and the complicating
of simplicity. I have no strong feelings
about life’s meaning, no spiritual leanings,
but if there’s a secret behind our existence,
surely the harp is the arca that keeps it.

*****
The Harp by Zoe McCann was highly commended in the Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition May 2019 judged by Terry Jones.

Glen Wilson

Bespoke Suit, 1918

I keep a thick black and red ledger
where men’s measurements are recorded,

how tight the cuff, how close the collar,
to know where to cut the cloth.

I know how the fabric bends in the elbow,
how the knees peak as they stride forward.

I remember this particular suit, a fine Ulster tweed
for young John Knox, the bank manager’s son.

His shoulders lined perfectly to the seams,
arms that filled the sleeves, jacket lapels

buttoned neatly across his chest at his last fitting,
only the hems needed to be turned up.

He never did retrieve it, one of many in coarse khaki
whose bodies fell instead in a churned-up land,

handkerchiefs littered the air with their intricate
initials before surrendering into the Somme’s soil.

His younger brother called in to collect it
just last week, and with his father’s words

urging and echoing in his head he tried it on
but was unable to fill all that expectant space.

We are terrible prophets yet we prophesy,
there were so many suits planned, ordered,

now spurned by the unison of singers,
so much material is now left on the roll.

The bell rings, a customer awaits.

*****
Bespoke Suit, 1918 by Glen Wilson won third prize in the Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition (May 2019) judged by Terry Jones.

Shanley McConnell

a mother’s goodbye

i

the moonscape bows to the mist; the slieve blooms into a mountain scope
stitched with the scent of lime and ghost blossoms : far from the northern mine
the village with the basalt neckline and belt of ramie rope.

ii

bundled in lilac coil, the summit rises in a broken line like a spine to the land; the slope
the curved arc of what is now the pulse of a great and enchanted find
the moonscape bows to the mist; the slieve blooms into a mountain scope

iii

stories: a woman who pounded almond oil into an antidote,
tucked grains in jars of flotsam and flax, and left behind
the village with the basalt neckline and belt of ramie rope

iv

who slept under loose wild blossoms, and woke september early in a sack cloth coat
who saved a single souvenir: cracked birch slipped inside, turned out blind
the moonscape bows to the mist; the slieve blooms into a mountain scope

v

who walked the world over to find her father’s land scapegoat
to a war it had never fought, cover her eyes so she cannot see the way they grind
the village with the basalt neckline and belt of ramie rope

vi

into the dirt as if it was simply clove, garlic, as if, canteloupe
sliced could be shoved into her mouth in shredded rind
the moonscape bows to the mist; the slieve blooms into a mountain scope
the village with the basalt neckline and belt of ramie rope.

*****
a mother’s goodbye by Shanley McConnell won second prize in the Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition (May 2019) judged by Terry Jones.