Sentinel Literary Quarterly

Vol.2 No.2, January 2009. ISSN 1753-6499 (Online).

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Bernard Gieske
Genna Gardini
Helena Carolinska
Michael Lee Rattigan
Nnorom Azuonye
Ramesh Dohan
Sholeh Wolpé
Terri Ochiagha
Tolu Ogunlesi
Uche Nduka
Uchechukwu Umezurike
William Stephenson





















Michael Lee Rattigan




Hit flush on a sure swung bat:

that tight, puckered smack followed by

joined cries in a welter and rush-

a globe of green sent high in arc,

voices urging a run to first base.

(A two-handed catch for an out, or

for the whole team, single-handed ,

a single-handed snatch from the air)-

As beyond the lattice-grille fence

an ear attuned to the team's struck pitch-


Like the jump to a clear radio signal

from blather and gush:

an eye leaned to that small falling flight,

as a hand went up in pure reflex-

felt the palm clap to a stilled sureness.





Tonight I would conjure sleep-

as on that day, to keep a friend

at the garden fence, I conjured a frog

from the undergrowth.


It sprang out clear from my imagining:

with its quick heart, tight-jelly stomach

and sinewy hitch-kicking legs;

an Adam's-apple for a back.


Shock of life that's with me still,

before it

outleaped its own spell.



 Bay Pond


Driving its monk-like crown forward,

a coot rushes across Bay Pond-

that sight to a stone's

skimming flight,

childhood's shot and open hand,

beside the sudden bank:


 There, half way out on the pond,

a baby coot writhing in the water...


Turning in the web-tangled water

with an instinct blind as my own, when,

years on, reeling wild, head-over

in a canoe

I plumbed a stream's

clod-green underflow...


Kicking and reeling till, of a sudden-

what felt like the sheerest miracle-

the baby coot righted itself

and with pitching strokes,

careening forward,

made toward the opposite bank...


My heart untensed with the inrush of air,

in relief close to pain.



With the boys


for Pete


The day we made a run into town: Sunday,

the slow burn of evening into dark,

sky a kind of mellow slumber: “church time”.


Startled by that knock on the door, voices:

a question quickly posed and poised, expectant.

Then us as sudden hurrying into town,


Leaping posts, chasing a path down

a dark watchfulness of factories,

beside the closed and shadowing park.


Excited as our voices, laughing as

we rubbed shoulders, snatched at each other

in a flurry of feet through the dimness.


To the lights, the road that seemed long then-

up and over the bridge. Far from home now

and wild with release, abandoned to this release...


Past the horsechestnut tree, its unlit hugeness

shafted by a lamp-post's fizzling flare:

waspish light conquered by the conker tree.


Over the Waddon road and up to the crossing,

then on past The Parish Church.

In by the back end of town.


The film we saw starts into view:

its foamy, bizarre, freewheeling shots

ghosted by an opening of doors-


Us bursting joyful into evening,

as we pranked homeward and again past that church,

where now you lie.


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Michael Lee Rattigan's work has been published in Canada and Ireland: the first complete translation of Pessoa's Caeiro; and a chapbook of poetry titled "Nature Notes" (both by Rufusbooks of Canada, .


Sentinel Literary Quarterly

 Published by Sentinel Poetry Movement

Editor: Nnorom Azuonye

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