Sheena Blackhall

Gold Star - 8,379 Points (18/8/1947 / Aberdeen)

Of Moths, Morticians, And Giant Hens (24 Poems) - Poem by Sheena Blackhall

1.Grey Matter
What’s under the bonnet?
Electrics crackle in the wired up brain
Eye-blinks spike on a graph

Positive or negative,
It pays to be earthed
When thought strikes
Sudden as lightning

The mind may require recharging
Run down like a Hornby train
Tired of the circuit of living

Thoughts leap like monkeys
In the track of 100 billion cells
Neurons blink off, blink on
In the brain’s main branch lines

Three pounds in weight, as soft as gelatin
Grey matter sets the seal on what we are


2.Hotel Democracy Rap
Hamas, Greenpeace, Hezbollah
Mr Jones from Epping on a business trip
Animal Liberation Front, Al Quaeda
What kind of info’s on that microchip?

Tom and Jan from Crieff on their honeymoon
Neo Nazis and the Klu Klux Klan
Mrs Diomedes on a weekend break
IRA and ETA and the Taliban

Black Panther, BNP, the Mujahideen
Alison MacDonald for an interview
Mujahi, Jihadists, plan a training scheme
Which one‘s plottin for the latest coup?
Bali, Jordan, Brighton too
You never know the minute BOOM
It’s ta-ta you.


3.The Bath
Water is lovely,
The liquid element
Quicksilver slippery

On a hot day
My body thirsts for it
Every pore aches for it

Stepping into the bath
Is like greeting a lover
It caresses the intimate regions of the dark.

It holds me in its thrall
This see-through wetness
Again and again I return to it
In stream, pool, bath

Entering it is like a little death
Joyful submission into pure delight

4.Mainstream Class
In the mainstream class
Eddies of syndromes
Curl like hidden whirlpools

Tourettes rears up
A kelpie, rude and raucous

ADHD white water runs
Thunder at break neck speed
Unstoppable, uncontainable

Autistic backwaters
Cut off from the current
Stagnate, each surface
Blank and eerily unfathomable

An Asperger’s ripple
With occasional flashes of brilliance
Disappears into a secret well

Navigating these dangers, by turns
Avoiding or confronting them
The waves of the fortunate
Fight their way up river
Bewildered by the boulders of these obstacles

The shy, the timid, fall between the weeds
Like raindrops when the Thunder Giants roar.

5.Wall
A snail slowly processes up the wall
His horns like upheld candles
His shell like a monk’s cowl

Ivy and moss abseil down its crack-cleft drop
Sanctuary for insects and slither-tailed earwigs
The rising sun paints shadows on its face.

6.Buildings Fetish
I knew a man who hung his hat on the Parthenon
His love was purely platonic, but all-encompassing
A menopausal lady fell for the Eiffel Tower
But sadly, she was much too far beneath it

A loner, they say, made a pass at the Tower of Pisa
He developed a crick in his neck, love petered out

A Russian diplomat felt romantically stirred
By the Taj Mahal, but it was reciprocal

A nymphomaniac with delusions of grandeur
Lusted after London’s Nelson’s column

A buyer for Leerdammer cheese
Went cock a hoop at the sight of the Colosseum
So many orifices! So much testosterone!

7.The Kingdom of Graffiti
Hansel and Gretel follow the big boys and girls
Hoping for a bit of the action
Hanging on the coat tails of the teens
With the spray cans, the sweat, the swears, the spits
The voddie stolen from mummy’s kitchen
The fags, the gags, the gigs

Hansel and Gretel are being weaned away
From the safe cocoon of home
Rites of passage are stormy
Hoodies, jeans, cap, drugs
Softcore angst …the world sucks
Piercings, skull and crossbone tattooes
Mohawks, ripped tops, knuckles of LOVE and HATE

Hansel & Gretel are losing their puppy fat
Cocking at snoot at Listen With Mother
The writing’s on the wall
Fear Piss Bravado Gobs and Dog Shit
Transition from toys to gangland

Hansel and Gretel, pretty names like angel dust, nose candy
Strange sweets bring something worse than rotten teeth

8.The Vision of the Woody Messiahs
Skies like marbled oil,
Swirling flights of starlings
Circle gigantic trees

Machines have shrunk to Lilliputian size
Trees are making a comeback
In the sea-saw tussle for survival
Between Earth and humans
Like woody Messiahs, the ponderous trunks
Each crowned by a hedge of thorns.

9.Head Banger
The great spotted woodpecker
Inhabits broadleaved and mixed woodlands and woodland edge,
Copses, parks and orchards.

The great spotted woodpecker requires dead wood
For nesting and feeding.
He chisels to excavate wood to reach wood-boring insects.

To declare his territory, he drums with his beak
It is more hygienic than peeing

His hearing is excellent. He can hear insects moving through timber
He will chisel to reach it, ferocious as any drill

This is repetitive behaviour,
But the great spotted woodpecker does not have OCD
He is a natural head banger unlike

The dancers at heavy metal concerts
Dazed and confused, courting a mild brain injury
Whether the up-down, the circular swing,
The full body, or the side-to-side head bang
Making them more “metal, ” or deaf,
Unlike the greater spotted woodpecker

10.Mermaids
Fish and tits, scaly bits
Sirens’ sighs, starry skies
Times and tides, sailors’ brides
Davie Jones, sea men’s bones

11.The Sea Horse Challenge
If your sea horse didn't finish in the top three
It's time to back the dolphin jumping instead

The winner, a classy little filly, stole the show
On her very first race over 20 fathoms

'It went by in a flash, ' an old timer said.
“I was happy to have been placed.”

The sea horses looked battle-weary,
But there was a jolly atmosphere in the doldrums,
As they snacked on their crustaceans

The winner has been mated recently,
Her breeding partner is due to deliver next season
A thorny seahorse, he is said to be excellent mother material

The favourite fell at the first coral reef
The sharks are totally devastated
No killing for them today.

12. Mary Queen of Hearts
Mary, Queen of Hearts,
Thought it quite rum,
Faced with poker faced Knox

She was the wild card in the pack
A straight flush
Diamonds all the way

But her second suitor was a Knave
Who knocked out the Joker
Giving the game over to a
Jack the lad Prince of Clubs

It was a fair bet
The Queen of Spades would win

13.A Girl called Moth
Moth’s eyes are bloodshot, she’s a party girl
She only comes out at night.

Her lipstick’s smudged,
One nostril’s red from sniffing up the snow
From a gentleman’s tenner

Moth’s hair hangs limp
Like two blonde furry wings
Battered to a standstill at a rave.
Moth’s element is moonshine
And the whisky breath of male and female lovers

14.Aftermath of War
Washed up on the shore of battle
Casualties of friendly fire, disease, accident.
Or suicide, neatly stacked corpses
Grey as driftwood
Lying in orderly ranks
Here and there
A body intact enough to identify
Is allotted its crowning cross
A posthumous medal or a wooden marker

15.Handle with Care
Shall we take the gloves off little lady?
Your daisy yellow numbers?

What does your heart line tell,
Your line of destiny?

Have you buffed your nails
And are your half moons rising?

16.In the Mortician’s Parlour
Shrouded like precious furniture
Disused in an echoing fall
The dead lie modestly concealed

Blemishes, scratches, scabs
Covered by stainless linen

They have already crossed
The Rubicon of mortality

Only the flesh remains
To be labelled, packed, despatched
To the earth or the oven

A breeze enters the room
A flap stirs idly
Like a ghost ship’s sail
No-one under the shrouds
Responds to its touch

17.Breaking Point
Angst goes against the grain
Clamped in the intolerable vice of strain
The structure splinters
Cracks appear perceptibly
A running split through the core
Afterwards, nothing is ever the same

In a patched up job,
The fault lines lie too deep
To render whole

18. Paper Weight
A reference. A serviette. A baby’s bib. A valentine
A Xmas card. A musical score. A graduation roll
A prescription for methadone. A memo pad. A paper plane
A school report. A search warrant. A mediaeval scroll

A prostitute’s timetable. An invite, and an actor’s script
A shopping list. A lesson in Braille. An origami sausage
A train ticket. A photograph. A page from ‘As You Like it’
A pregnancy scan. A Royal decree. A card. A coded message

A fax print out. A dog licence. A vet’s inventory
A Durer etching. A death certificate. A menu, a bill, a map
A pornographer’s poster. A child’s comic. A legal writ. A billet-doux
A romantic novella. A driving licence. A Times’ review for ‘The Mousetrap’.

19. The Giant Hens
If giant hens should leave their pens
And peck us up like seed
How topsy-turvy it would seem
If prey should make us bleed

And even worse, if they should herd
Us into battery runs
And cut us down, when in our prime
To snack on in their buns

How hideous if women should
Bear children to be sold
So giant hens could spread their toast
With human Kerry Gold

20. The St Andrew’s Song tune: Pollywolly Doodle
Oh St Regulus sailed with a box of bones
To St Andrews one fine day
And his ship was sunk, but the monk was saved
And he never ever ever got away

Here to stay, here to stay
They can never ever ever get away
The ghosts of the folk who lived and died
In St Andrews town and bay

The ship was sunk but the monk was saved
With an arm and a tooth and a knee
Of the famous saint who pilgrims loved
To visit at St Andrews by the sea

Here to stay, here to stay
They can never ever ever get away
The ghosts of the folk who lived and died
In St Andrews town and bay

But John Knox appeared and the bones were lost
When he burned the Cathedral down
Then Mary Queen of Scots discovered golf
And a new ploy came to town

Here to stay, here to stay
They can never ever ever get away
The ghosts of the folk who lived and died
In St Andrews town and bay

Once the folk of Fife bleached their linen on the course
(Donald Trump he would never have approved)
But that was long before TV pundits kept the score
Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods say it’s improved

Here to stay, here to stay
They can never ever ever get away
The ghosts of the folk who lived and died
In St Andrews town and bay

Kate Middleton came to this varsity of Fame
And met Wills, her Royal man
Shall we list the names of some other graduates
James the second, Alex Salmond, Fay Weldon

Here to stay, here to stay
They can never ever ever get away
The ghosts of the folk who lived and died
In St Andrews town and bay

John Cleese and J.M. Barrie were both Rectors in this place
And two others gained an honorary degree
Michael Douglas and Bob Dylan, they were happy to be linked
To St Andrew’s ancient university

Here to stay, here to stay
They can never ever ever get away
The ghosts of the folk who lived and died
In St Andrews town and bay

21. Rough Sleeper
Under the dripping roof, cars pass unseeing,
A human maggot, lying as if dead
Down in the tunnel’s gut, from winter creeping

Just one more stain, where ooze and slime have bled,
By day he treats the streets like a cash cow
But darkness drives him to this poisonous bed

Amongst the pigeon shit, lit by car-glow,
Sib to the vermin, he will drink until
Fugitive light, and dawn’s chill breezes blow.

The city’s rotten underbelly’s shrill
With traffic, poisonous to breath and air
What drove this rough sleeper so far downhill?

I saw him once, caught in the headlight’s glare
Poor discard, in his subterranean lair

A fugitive from normal ways of being,
In the abyss where nightmare footsteps led
Down here, poor bogieman, from muggers fleeing,

Sucking the juice of Lethe, pale, undead,
With claws as black as any red-beaked crow
Resting on garbage, by bin-leavings fed

Your death may come at 10 degrees below,
Poor pavement scrounger, rotten overspill
From the great Tree of Life, dropped hard and low

What drink-befuddled thoughts arise to fill
Your mind. Did someone ever know or care?
You turn and let your seed on tarmac spill

(The urge to procreate is everywhere)
The path to ruin has a rocky stair

22. Angry Women
Fanatics don’t give a toss for collateral damage
Nobody asked the jockey or the horse for their consent
To promote a cause in the suffrage publicity stakes

Today, the pattern persists
Jihadists strapped with bombs
Blow strangers, mothers, brothers
To Kingdom Come

Kill yourself if you will, to grab attention
But why load Charon’s boat to the bloody brim
On a whim of your own choosing?

Less lethal, angry women fire-bomb sex shops
Riot like painted clowns in a Russian Cathedral
Abandon sons as Lesbian separatists
Take part in Slut walks, or barer,
Go topless as supporters of Femen protests

Muslim women, in backlash, rage on Facebook
‘We’re sick of your colonial racist rubbish’
A female driver in Saudi is sentenced to 10 lashes
Saudi Clerics predict ‘the end of virginity’
For women who leave the home to take the wheel.

Undressed or overdressed, bras burned
Or reinforced like ice cream cones
Equality works like a powerful sucking magnet
Dragging respect into the messy equation,
Along with little things like work, achievement.

23. The Love Buzz
The African carpenter bee
On a flower, hits the note middle C
Releasing the pollen
From Sea Roses foreign
In wonderful bee harmony

Tomatoes, rasps, aubergines’ anthers
(with blueberries) leap up like panthers
When the bee hits an E
At a force 30 G
Pollination fills thousands of planters

24. Sycamore Seeds
Sycamore seeds that tumble and fall
(The fledgling bird that drops from the nest)
Death claims all of us, great and small
Presidents, priests with all the rest

Some are cropped in their daisy years
Hoppity- skippity under the grass
Others leave in a veil of fears
Gaunt grey shadows that stumbling pass

Some are mourned and are sadly missed
The kind, the gentle, the good, the wise
These are the ones that Love has kissed
The world is poorer for their demise


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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Poem Edited: Wednesday, June 19, 2013


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