Sentinel Literary Quarterly

Vol.2 No.4, July 2009. ISSN 1753-6499 (Online).

The Magazine of World Literature

Home Editor's Note Poems Interviews Fiction Essays Drama Competitions



Clare Saponia has had several poems published by The Recusant and Platform, and a couple will shortly appear in Red Poets, Inclement and Pennine Ink.

Clare Saponia


The Optimists


A long while before,

when they were silent

for the first time;


when disorder was precise

and regime obedient


to the point of pedantry,

dawn still crept in


at the end of a night,

like a spy. 

Like a hero.



Faithful Silence


In an episode like ours,

counting tree after tree

and looking for symbolism;


in a country like ours

that’s losing it, strip for strip,

a pendulum of dripping culture


in a society like ours, we’ve formed

short and quaint interpretations

that sign, seal and do not deliver


in a secret like ours,

dignity lies down; it gets bitten

by painful whispers.


In an empty place, I stay hidden

sometimes all the more

to keep it empty. And think.


In a collective thought like ours

that rarely comes together

except in times of tragedy, 

the loyal keep their lips shut.





I feel the size of the room is out to get

me. When you

shut the door,

there’s an intrepid sense of smallness

and you’re a part of it. I lie

there and think

about blowing smoke

amongst a hundred things

which remain unordered.

Buddha tells me that’s okay.

I stop trying to order them

and the ninety-nine other

things rejoin me an hour

later for coffee. They

remove their caps and duffels,

dip into my line of view

to ask, and so very humbly, if

the seats about me

are taken.


They don’t wait for an

answer. Their forwardness

upsets me. Buddha tells me

to renounce

the superiority complex.


And I note how easily I’m

bullied into guilt; the face

of charity on shift-system, the

telephone call you make that

passes me by

without a message. Why

did you phone?

I eradicate.

I leave you alone with Nietzsche

and the day you’ve now won,

although maybe you haven’t

noticed just yet. For you, we’re

still dancing in shared socks. I

recall your long naked toes as a

final caption this morning

on treading backwards

in that one reclaimed stocking

trying not to wake you

before fitting the other. You were

covered by everything belonging

to you, half of your face too,

and I wanted to take a photo

of your peaceful entirety

in miniscule snippets.                                                      

But had to go.


You see, Buddha tells me not to

crave. Not to possess you as a

moment in my time

although devil and angel

fight over the proximity

of your otherness

and I vacate the caption

in order to win the day.


Buddha asks me what I have won.



The Dutiful


Marching in.


You walk past amputations.


You pass a crowd of diarrhoea

and wailings.


You are a soldier

with nothing to report.


C’est la vie you must think.

C’est la vie you are told to feel:

you are a moodless machine

and immune to any event,

especially the ones you yourself

got involved in.


Reality irritates you, you find.

It carries a stench that runs

deeper than ideology;


ideology you follow

but do not understand. There


are levels of preparedness for it,

should you take up the gauntlet:


you ask yourself once, twice,

nine hundred and twenty-two times

and still you are not ready. Though,

what it boils down to, I guess, is:


do you want to be?





In between,

the archetypes for this and that

gel without confluence. It is

a marmalade stitched together

with the peelings of civilization.

As I take a spoon, I pull against




hoping for coherence;

hoping they will share

a glint of their difference.


There are eight hundred and forty-

nine scars in my marmalade; I have

counted. They have simplified,

almost uniform,


each with a tale among the scramble,

each intrinsically akin to the next.

Each alone before severance

with his lacerations. And one day

all the marmalade will be gone.



the day fear died


One day, whilst the scaremongers were

stamping down with their morals and

phobia, an arcane unity seemed to take

root. Pale. Serene.

Organically. Rising

as a mutant yeast

with sweat and hope

and presumption,

and dissolving step by step

the tethers of gooseflesh,

until the bogyman became

merely a bogy.


Page Up / Poems


Contact Us



The Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition (October 2009) is now open for entries.

Bobby Parker will judge. Learn more>>

Sentinel Literary Quarterly

 Published by Sentinel Poetry Movement

Editor: Nnorom Azuonye

©2009 The authors and artists as credited. All rights reserved. Reprint permissions.

A magazine designed and built by Eastern Light Web Services for Sentinel Poetry Movement

Sentinel Literary Quarterly is a Poetry Landmark of Britain