Monday, 13 June 2011

The Poems of Barbara Sinead Smith

From Sentinel Poetry (Online) #25     2nd Anniversary Issue    December 2004

Barbara Smith lives on Ireland's eastern seaboard. Poems recently published, or pending includes: Riposte, Electric Acorn, Ireland; and The Coffee House, UK; Garm Lu, Canada; Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review, US and TMR, India. Essays recently published include west47online and VirtualWriter, Ireland. Smith has published two volumes of poetry: Gnosis and Poetic Stage; the latter enjoyed moderate success both inside and outside Ireland.



(After Kavanagh and Heaney)

My granny used to soak the spuds too
making it easy to peel them later.
Part of morning's ritual was topping
their pot with water . Later, after
fowl were fed and tae and bread were eaten
she'd peel them slowly; humming all the while
Moore's medley of almanac songs.
Steeping my potatoes now, as she did,
brings her four green fields down the years to me.
Scaly and red, my Roosters, instead of
her soft Queens; mine tattle of tractor harrow;
long scars that I smooth away with stainless
peeler. I rinse them down, split them with a
long broad knife and leave them by for dinner.

1. Roosters, Queens - types of potatoes currently grown in Ireland.
2. Moore's Old Almanac - an almanac giving tides, moon dates and other info. useful to farmers.
3. Four green fields - an Irish Ballad.


As the focus shifts onscreen,
layers of fat and bladder give
way to an image; teeth buds, skull,
arms, hands. A curlicue spine
all turned out from one fertilized
nucleus; one zygote.
And the focus shifts -
the factory needed workers;
they came in droves, with
builders and roofers all tumbling after.
No call was made; they just came.
The suburbs rose from
one side street, one city.
Another slide show shows
the glass house exposed;
it's inhabitants have been
here fifteen years, watched
by a greater being. Their queen
laid a future (after a one night
stand - and he died!)
that emerged howling
into the man-made storm
of tomorrow's world.
So, we prod that mass,
manipulate the medium;
watch flora atrophy from
the empty vessels fulcrum.
We share a future grown
by mould, fledged onscreen;
reduced to zero and one
and all the fractions
in between.


SENTINEL LITERARY QUARTERLY POETRY & SHORT STORY COMPETITIONS, Every 3 months. Deadlines June 20th, September 20th, December 20th, March 20th. First Prize £150, Second Prize £75, 3rd Prize £50, Commendation Prizes 3 x £10. Entry Fees: £3 per poem, £12 for 5 poems. Judges, competition rules and how to enter online or by post at



May 2011

Sentinel Champions #6

In this issue of Sentinel Champions #6

Short Stories

The Scream - Samantha Symonds

Mayday - Andrew Campbell-Kearsey

Love at First Site - Andrew Campbell-Kearsey

A Way with the Kids - Sharon Birch

Crown of Burrs - G.H. Zitzelsberger

The Green Gators - Joey C. Aglasi


Getting Married with Gertrude Stein - Nicholas Y.B. Wong

Teaching English Poetry in Hong Kong - Nicholas Y.B. Wong

Thoughts on a Bad Day - Emanuela Puosi

Spock - Christian Ward

Tastes of Blue - Warren Paul Glover

Edinburgh - Warren Paul Glover

Voice in the Night - John Cooper

Leaving Day - John Cooper

The Age of No Dog - Mandy Pannett

Move On - Mark Borg

Please Destroy - Catherine Pitt

When Kieron Came - Heather Buswell

Dorm - Ilya Meylakh

Lines - Kate Barnett


Adventures in Writing Competitions Administration - Nnorom Azuonye

Sentinel Champions #6

Winners & Commended work from the Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry & Short Story Competitions judged and selected by Geoff Stevens (Poetry) and Ivor Hartmann (Fiction)

Perfect Bound: 60 Pages

£4.95 (UK), £5.95 (Overseas)

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