Sheena Blackhall

Gold Star - 4,773 Points (18/8/1947 / Aberdeen)

20 English Poems From The Speerit Hoose - Poem by Sheena Blackhall

1. Stolen Behaviours
The grasshopper accelerated
In angles of legs and light
A compass trampolining in the sun

In a dingy basement,
Two spiders open their hinges to make love,
As a room does, with a door

Over the crystalline burn
A bridge arches it back
A bruised stone rainbow, stretching

In the kitchen which had seen domestic violence
A dishcloth coiled like a snake
Cuddling its own tail


2. Genetic Twist
Stranded genes are fused in chains of kin-links
The mesh of netting, letting some slip through
Others throttle in dismal self-destruction

Fault-lines crack and splinter,
Fractured in the minefields of our lives
Though some can hop-scotch tragedy,
Scot- free will o wisps, to skip the bog

Others survive like crippled amputees
Minds savaged by invisible hurts and scars
Where woes hang on the wire like stinking crows

A curse upon those crooked, unwished genes
No splints of love can ever straighten out



3.October: from the Canopy of the Trees, RGU
On flows the river. One bird’s singing
Eyrie high in the ageing trees
Nebulous clouds pass, whitely puffing
Autumn fire’s in the ancient eaves
Red as Siva, black as Kali
Leaf’s in its dying ecstasies

Over the river the water blackens
There, in the far bank’s rotten roots
All must cross to that swallowing region
Off-cast Life with its bitter fruits



4.October
Here comes the lean wolf, Winter
That cleaver of old bones
That howl, rattling the railings of our lives

October- how many more
Cold moons will this old woman see?


5.Egg Gathering
Lifting the hen to steal her oval offspring
The feather bowl of her belly
Suddenly blooms like a white peony rose
Her yokey claws flail me in indignation



6.Apple Orchard
Like miniature Chinese lanterns
Apples glow in the orchard
Don’t fall, little apples I say
But they always do.



7.The Moss as Witness
Consider my virtues
I am a comforter, a breaker of falls
Soft as a mother’s pap
I’m a whisper not a shout
I’m like a slack old toad,
With its hamstrings cut

Leaves rest on me,
I do not blow them away
I simply let thing be

Storms may whip the oaks to a mighty frenzy
I am beneath all that

I cling to my backbone of stone
The wood’s upholsterer
All my dreams are green



8. End of a Love Affair
My body has ceased to love me
Recently, I’m aware it plans to leave

When I tell them to bend
My knees flinch and stiffen
My pancreas is plotting behind my back
My teeth slacken, tugging at their anchor
Every nail on my feet
Has taken to wearing armour


9.Flood Dream
All month a memory has been stalking me
Its hot breath tickles my ears

I hop-scotch back to lascivious young adulthood
Like an old dry river bed suddenly filled with flood



10.Door Handle
I stand in the middle of a moor
No walls on either side
No roof above
I am the handle on a creaking door

Those who approach in an offhand manner
Twist me left
Those who approach uninvited
Turn me right

I open only to the wind
Letting the little birds of chance
Perch on my withered handle
Like a Norse ship’s prow.


11.Tree Trunk
A fern serves as his roof
She’s gently swaying, a slave girl fanning a caliph
A spider’s cobweb veils his pearly entrance

Tree trunk has ground to a stand still
Straining gey line in a threadbare tent of wood

Insects breed in him, feed on his rickety core
Turn rot to riches for their magotty eggs

Holly and wild strawberries are his neighbours
They keep themselves to themselves
Thus keeping the peace, those parallel beings
Trains keeping their tracklines separate


12.Decrepitude
Age has hobbled me, like an old nag
I turn perverse

I want to ring the bell at my childhood home
And tell the current startled owner
Did you know my father died
In the self-same room you’ve turned into a study?
And by the way, where are his peony roses!

In my Jungian dream house
A cow moos, mournfully
Udders bursting with milk

Meanwhile, the years continue their small thefts
Will my new shoes outwalk me?



13.Die-Hard
When Life washes her hands of me
For once, I should go quietly
But habits, they say, die hard.


14.In Brantwood’s dews
What’ll you find in Brantwood’s dews?
Cornflower, and red strawberry
Solomon’s seal and asphodel
Buttercup, toad flax, sweet daisy

What’ll you find in painter’s glade?
Woundwort, birdsong, blue speedwell
Trefoil clover and campion
Yarrow, squirrel and pale harebell

What’ll you find by Ruskin’s pond?
Cardamine, vetch and herbal rue
Cat’s ear, orchid, monkswood, leaves
Sighing trees and a scholar’s view

What’ll you find in Brantwood House?
The lack of woman’s loving touch
It’s often the bird on the barest bough
That mournful, gives to the world so much



15.Samhuin amangst widlans
The waning year stretches the spilling dark
We catch the imprints of the Samhuin season
And trees are shrunken, sackcloth grey and stark

Now the hoarse raven looms above the lark
The deed walk lightly, flit from loam, to reason
Old ghosts return on Charon’s eerie ark

The claws of winter leave their savage mark
Echo of wolf, deep in the fox’s bark

Go now. It is late
Last chance to know the night
As owls do or the fish that turn in the lake

Go now. Meet with the trees
Root yourself in their silence
Acknowledge the tumbling leaves

Go now. Rejoice in the fire
(Your childhood magnet)
Soon it will be your pyre

Go willing or not
For nothing stays the same
Only the dark at the back of a dead man’s mouth
Who has no name


16.The Echoes that Words Leave
Bees in the pear tree
Badger’s in the moon
Fox is in the pulpit
Apostle’s in the spoon

Sandblasted lapwings
Egret in the mud
Blackbird and wolf howl
Singing’s in the blood



17.The Ordination of the Oak
The oak is seeking refuge
It seeks refuge in the wisdom of the woods
It seeks refuge in the brotherhood of the woods
It has vowed to live a purely oakly life
Rain provides the ultimate shower of blessing


18.The Endless Road
I’ve been on the road to Oxenholme
Where the hills roll up and down
And the roads turn right
And the roads turn left
To any which way but town

I asked a ladybird on a stone
‘have you happened to see a station
She looked perplexed and a trifle vexed
Said she travelled by aviation

A Friesian cow was chewing the cud
In an upsie-downsie way
Have you heard of a station hereabouts?
My only concern is hay

I have no sense of direction, dear
A cloud-headed sheep replied
But I know that dyke runs up to a trough
By the hog-hole at its side

I’m still on the road to Oxenholme
I might as well speak Spanish
When I ask the folk to point it out
All landmarks seem to vanish


19.Though
Though I am old
In the bushes, young birds sing
Though I am weary
Leverets race in the fields
Though my spheres diminish
In the pool, frog ripples widen



20.The Francolin
Fiery, the francolin was,
Feathers of gold on his back
When he sang the birds of paradise
To brighten his look, turned black

Noble the francolin was,
His wives were many and gay
And lions ran before him
Scattering fruits in his way

Modest the francolin was
And fearless, for all was love
Until man came to the forest
A knife in his velvet glove

Topic(s) of this poem: aging


Comments about 20 English Poems From The Speerit Hoose by Sheena Blackhall

  • Douglas Stewart (10/29/2015 4:33:00 PM)


    Aye! I am 72 and this matched collection hit me were I (still) live. So many good ones, it is hard to single out just a few. The Endless Road, I'm on it too, done with great humor. I was thinking, as I read it, that we all are focused on our own pursuits, our own endless roads. I love 'em all, Sheena, you have a fan. (Report) Reply

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Poem Submitted: Thursday, October 29, 2015



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