Sentinel Poetry (Online) #37

3rd Anniversary Issue – December 2005

ISSN 1479-425X








On the path

as it dips and curves to the gate

scorched scraps of paper lie,

with brown borders tipped black the fire has chewed,

like parchments made to look old in museums that spell out history.


An Italian scrawl of words

occasionally survives like a cypher or code

there isn't enough of to break,

I manage to read into discarded love-letters,

unravelled by knowledge girls last week from Italy

walked that same silly spot,

and, as they do, maybe made a solemn bonfire of romances that had got tiny.


A message in a bottle,

even before you broke it open,

would speak lines and lines of romance, wouldn't it?



A Monk’s Lament


Gripping my balls I intoned psalms

to sweat out the devil,

joyously suffered bone-chilling matins

to snuggle within heaven's prize of ribbed arches and soaring tower,

on this earth, glory be, count eternity and touch infinity's walls.


But now my spirit roams this roofless mockery,

stops short in truncated cloisters

that do not circle back

to chant my oneness with our creation.

I am without home in bits of grass and stone

once housed a towering immutability of shape,

witness to a new dark age where

triumphant echoing chambers

in their rock-hard holiness

lie in ruin,

where in what must be bestial times

endless song and penance that kept my private parts apart

in their soulless torment,

while the rest of me was clean,

is no longer seen to be heaven on earth.



Keep It Up


Straining back to cast a cursory giddiness

over dale's sweep,

point head down to incline like an old man

to downs' sharp slope

and step on like picked-out clods of earth

to plateau an equilibrium

though can't stop in my stumble up,

to do so would invite a fall, from pantheism,

and could graze my skin.


I can recall childhood's dares climbing up chalk-faces

in the downs' sheer fear

you were never going to make it,

I stand on the top

where prehistoric man trod out snaking clay trails

the glossy bumpf in the ramblers' shop says,

and get my breath back,

nod at other weekend wallowers in nature.


The horse-shoe of the downs opens out on stretching horizon's patch-work green tones

where gliders swoop low released by planes drawing a pencil-line in the sky,

lovers continue to embrace in curves and folds.


I take in in a gasp my role

in bushes, fields, mounds in their endlessness

that shape a cultural niche for me

I can still manage

once in a blue moon

if I really concentrate

and remember the moves.

Then I can turn over and fall asleep.

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