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Welcome to SENTINEL LITERARY QUARTERLY

Vol.3. No. 2. January 2010

 


CONTRIBUTORS

POETRY

SECTIONS

Andrew Campbell-Kearsey
Claire Godden-Rowland
Dike Okoro
Dominic James
Emmanuel Sigauke
Mandy Pannett
Noel Williams
N Quentin Woolf
Olu Oguibe
Paul Jeffcutt
Sharma Taylor
Susanna Roxman
W Jack Savage

 

AFTERNOON SONG & OTHER POEMS

By

Dominic James

 

 

Afternoon Song

You there in your old, cold country
Do you think of me
As a bay in North Sicily,
Or rumpled bedroom flooded with heat and light
(From which you cannot keep out
a small cry in the night)
Hot despite all slats and flats of your
Shuttered North doors that can hardly withdraw
All the heat of the day,
At least you can park all your secrets in shade
Until evening takes some heat from your blushes,
Your burns and the drops of your foolish, salt tears

Pilgrim Station

Pilgrim Station, the Jordan by moonlight,
We were playing cards on the lively banks
While our riverboats tugged at their moorings
Like tethered horses anxious to be off
And ride the spate of the earlier storm;
Frothy waves reflected high scudding cloud
And the riversí surge was drowning out talk,
Down from John the Baptistís House of Sadness
It carried palms around the Promised Land
To a salty finish on the Dead Sea shore,
Man, you should have seen those holy rollers;
Everything was drawn along by the storm
Or - more accurately - its aftermath;
It was the best time that weíve had in years.

Rain and Shine

It was raining tonight in Marrakech
although in town noise I heard not a drop:
still donít, reflecting on a tumbler of water
how before todayís rain a small herd of sheep
grazed at my door - I heard them pretty well:
their pleasant cropping and trotting black feet
and white lambs playing at the roots of palms;
their shepherd picked up a rock to steer them
without a splash or stroke or sound.  Unseen,
his flockís gathering was to me at first rain,
rain composed on the horizonís dumb shore,
where flashes of lightning lit sullen cloud -
how, as I watched, though I heard no thunder,
in a rain-dashed sky the sun re-emerged.

Give me Summer

Give me Summer:
All his lies are promises,
Everything thatís good is sour,
Time was on our hands
And we rubbed it out.

Give me Summer,
His gardenís an escape route
With paths of laden vine,
Combining scent of basil leaves
With honeysuckle, woodbine.

Give me Summer,
His table wide and salad bowl
When sparrows skim the hedgerow,
Laurels glint like spear tips
And the nettleís stingless.

Give me Summer,
Summer in the warming breeze
When heís hung out to dry,
For his end is my beginning:
Bring me love and happiness,

Give me Summer
On his knees
And pull down the blind.
I shall own his haunted shadow,
I shall make it mine.

Victim of a silent dream

Late at night a freight train rumbles
far away and disturbs only
the sanctuary of my pillow
for I am awake to night sounds
and lie among my tender bruises:
a cold eye fixed upon his rosesí
shadows, planted on the wall,
they nod as if they paid for me,
I kiss the rope burns on my wrist,
the blue spot on my forearm,
I am a victim of violence
nestled in these railway sleepers,
embedded in a constant track
between two stations, love and hate,
or hate and love. He doesnít know
if I am truly his alone:
was my rescue late or timely?
He doesnít know my timetable,
that the lover plays the villain
and he must tie me to the rack
out-stretched between these steel ribbons,
before he helps me onto the platform
of my final destination:
Love, should I meet him sideways on?
With a man thereís always something.

Hero

She's hunting through a mist that settled
On memory now drink has come
And allís dismay at sober evenings,

Was there ever one sweet thing for always
In her puddle mud of history?

Sheís left her garden a muddle head,
Nudging by in her blindness

She scratches at her friends and lovers -
Or the remnants she has of them.

Following her ragged shoreline
Hero waits for the coming dawn
To split the cover of night.

 

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JANUARY 2010 INDEX
COMPETITIONS
DRAMA
EDITOR'S NOTE
ESSAYS & REVIEWS
FICTION
INTERVIEWS
POETRY

 
 

JANUARY 2010 INDEX | COMPETITIONS | DRAMA | EDITOR'S NOTE | ESSAYS & REVIEWS | FICTION | INTERVIEWS | POETRY

 

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