Sheena Blackhall

Sheena Blackhall Poems

In Memory of Sylvia Plath Hughes

The Black Prince of Paradise brought you to this place,
Where Cromwell's Ironsides were bread and buttered,

The Cat o Nine Tails
Stretched on a frame in the bathhouse
Ankles and wrists lashed hard
Rab the cat was sentenced

The door remembers
the layers of bottle green paint
the brass-bulled letterbox
the glittering granite steps

Great grandfather stood like a stone
As the ship crossed the horizon
To dropp off the world as he knew it
His shovel beard, his barrel chest

Have you ever boarded a flight with the dread
Of the passenger next to you snoring his head
Off, or maybe a toddler who's teething & raging
And dribbling, and drooling and loudly rampaging?

Please don't disturb the crane fly on the window
She is watching a leaf dance solo in autumn's ballet

Bitten by the cold, a grey dog soft as wormwood

Otzi The Iceman, murdered in 3,500 BC
Shot with an arrow, bludgeoned to death
Had 61 tattoos, like a human tapestry

Three blasts in quick succession in Colombo
Three hundred murdered, wiped away at once
500 injured, families blown apart

1.Shoe-Case, Auschwitz

Clogs, boots and shoes built to the skies
They stun the mind and glut the eyes

When the Earth Dies
When the earth dies,
All that will be left
Will be a table with no picnic

Stick man, his gait is stilted
From the gape that is his mouth
A stream of eloquent words
Random and unconnected


Oh cauld's the doonrush o a burn
In winter's iron thraa,

On the first morning after her first bleeding
The girl bathes.

The girl washes her hair in suds from a yucca root

He had a mind inquisitive and quick
And he could sing the mavis off her perch
With his bravura swagger, cock of the walk
His flashing eye, oh he could charm the women

At the Shrine of the Prima Donna of the self
Top Dog is the worship of dollars
Here, Tracy Emin's the high priestess
Of the cult of me me me

The house of the owl
Nets stars and moonshine nightly
Her feathers are unruffled, her soundless flight
Runs faster than spilled quicksilver

Decrepitude, dementia, old age
The silver surfer daily counts the pills
Stalking the spotlight on life's fleeting stage

Standing in the North Sea
The weight of water grips my calves
It's an icy anklet, a chilly shackle

Ten summers young. The day, all heat on heather.
The purple pathway brittle underfoot,
The peat as springy's cork,
I clambered Lochnagar for the first time

In the Cupboard of my mind
In the cupboard of my mind
Many curious things you'd find

Sheena Blackhall Biography

Sheena Blackhall is a writer, illustrator, traditional ballad singer and storyteller in North East Scotland. From 1998-2003 she was Creative Writing Fellow in Scots at Aberdeen University's Elphinstone Institute.She has published four Scots novellas, fourteen short story collections and over 100 poetry collections, some of which are listed here (most recent first) . Two of her plays have been televised. She has won several national awards for Scots poetry and short-story writing. In 2009 she became the poet laureate for Aberdeen & the North East of Scotland.)

The Best Poem Of Sheena Blackhall

Of Sylvia Plath, Ted Hughes (3 Poems)

In Memory of Sylvia Plath Hughes

The Black Prince of Paradise brought you to this place,
Where Cromwell's Ironsides were bread and buttered,
A stone's throw from the cockpit in Church Lane
Where Wellington's troopers gambled on the cobbles.

Rowans are a red mush upon the road.
The orange slates of leaves roof gloomy wynds.
Dykes with their pie crust stone keep sunlight penned.
Families are walls, closed ranks, compacted tightly.

A woman with a whippet Belsen face
Tells me The Overspill' is your address....
­Boneyard where Doctor, Tosspot, Fool, St George from Sowerby,
From Hope Street, Nest Estate lie down together

Miss Golden Lotus, did you ever guess
Your bridlepath of Prussian dressage led
To nettles that would sting you if they could?
Fame's a scoop in a ladle, sourly swallowed.

A mean grave to contain such a Colossus!
Near you, cheek by jowl with Annie Sutcliffe,
A prickly holly stands, a dour Druid,
Pointing to Pogley's Barn, to Chestnut Cottage,
To Thwaites White Lion Inn, its rampant sign
Bidding the traveller stop and sup real ale.

Your blanket is a primrose chewed by slugs,
Riotous ferns, a shock of maidenhair
Burned by the brands of Autumn.
Dock-leaf quilt hides silver coins
You're never going to spend.

A mildewed ring, a plastic string of pearls,
A mirror, pencil, tiny cowrie shells
Wink up through wet and weed...a keyholder
Of Marilyn Monroe in flying skirts.

Up to the neck in centuries you lie,
In marble vest of bone and wooden shirt,
Stuffed with the clay of England.

This is your kingdom now,
Your power, your glory
Here, where the leaves fall down
And will not stop.

Elmet: for Ted Hughes

Billows of sheep-fields curve above grey clouds.
Only a bird would choose to winter here,
Where homes are land-locked nests
Driven into the turf and pith of the hill.

Only a hunger after fallen Lucifers
Could dog the sunken river to its source,
Where grass pours off weir walls
Like withered hair.

Cobbett could have ridden on these roads,
This strange, bipolar landscape.
No half measures, you're either tumbling down or toiling up.

The blue sky seems to be a place apart
A slice of Heaven, laid down like a lid.

Beech trees anchor their roots, unleash their rigging.
Brambles congeal to shrunken clots of black,
Fern fronds hunch, like hermits with the ague.
Parson Grimshaw's Methodist legacy
hangs fire, where dismal chapels slowly fall
Into the heath of Haworth, Heptonstall,
Hardcastle Craggs, Crow Hill and Abel Cross.

This landscape was a poet's crucible.
He knew where salmon leap, why foxes call.
It was his clearings, his complexities,
His faults, his glories, rooted here, like oak.

Hebden Bridge

Each house wears a sooty face of brick
Smudged from the funeral pyres of textile mills
The slow canal's a snail Eating its own tail
Each road is a fair's big dipper
That women with thighs of steel ascend like moles

Gravity flicks off clouds from mountain shoulders
To hotter in the cauldron of the vale

The Inn of the Fox and Goose lowers its hanging basket
Bucket of petals into the day's well

Brambles shrivel like raisins
Like old mens' foreskins
In the sere Season,

Sheena Blackhall Comments

Sally Evans 20 June 2011

just wanted to say what a fantastic poet Sheena Blackhall is, in Aberdeensire Scots and English. Dont actually know whether my comment went in, as I am new to this amazing site

9 0 Reply
Sally Evans 20 June 2011

Fantastic poet in Aberdeenshire Scots and English, terrific poems: -)

9 0 Reply
Richard Beevor 07 May 2014

Hi Sheena, love the rabbits first snow, a lovely poem, hope I can achieve such a standard one day

2 0 Reply
The Muse 11 November 2019

The poetry of the 9 muses was remarkable.

0 0 Reply
Kumarmani Mahakul 23 December 2018

On behalf of all fellow poets in Poem Hunter Family and our Mahakul Family we offer a title of honour to poetess Sheena Blackhall born on 18/8/1947 in Aberdeen as, 'Diligent Dignitary.' This title is offered her due to her long-time perseverance and valuable contribution to the world literature. Since 1984 to 2014 she has published many precious books and till date she has written many beneficial poems. From today onward she will be known as, 'Diligent Dignitary Sheena Blackhall'

0 0 Reply
Lebohang Mzabilizo 27 July 2018

I like your poet very much Thank you

0 0 Reply
Tom Billsborough 30 April 2017

Sheena is in my view one of the truly outstanding poets on Poem Hunter. The depth of her emotions and the power of her language constantly startle me. A great poet for the Granite City.

2 0 Reply
Peter Evans 02 February 2015

Hi Sheena, We produce the local village newsletter for Portknockie, 'The K'nocker', and have reproduced many Doric poems in our editions. Unfortunately, our resident poet, Ian Mair, has just passed away, and we wondered if you would allow us to reproduce some of your poems. The one I'm looking at right now is 'The Check-Oot Quine's Lament.' Great poem! !

5 0 Reply

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