Monday 19 October 2015

The man on the stairs

The Stirling staircase cascades down its landings.
Descending you approach
as in one long David Lean take of Sherif Ali approaching the well
my eyes are held blinkless.

Gradually a figure forms
wrapped against the winter chill
the sheep’s skin jacket crowned with a leather hat
adorned by multi-coloured pheasant feathers.

As we pass
from below its brim shine two chestnut eyes
as dark as the midnight sky
as bright as the moon leading the traveller home.

My north, my south, my east, my west, my anchor
Forever I am bound to them and the warmth of their accompanying smile.

© Sheila Ash 19th October 2015

See a great set of photos of this iconic building

Tuesday 13 October 2015

Desert Island Disks

For today’s Halesworth U3A Music Appreciation Group meeting three of us did our Desert Island Disks, a choice of 3 each from 3 of us. If I have mistaken any of the pieces in any way, apologies

First Up Joan with

(1) Salvatore Accardo playing Bruck’s  Violin Concerto with Leipzig orchestra conducted by Kurt Masur.

(2) Barbara Streisand with Barry Gibb singing Stranger in a Strange Land

(3) Elisabeth Welch singing “In No Time” a comic song which I cannot find a working link to online but you can see more of her stuff on her Youtube channel and they might even have repaired the link

Next Up – Michael with a locally themed collection

(1) Halesworth Community Choir singing Red Sails by Bridget Cousins – its an amateur recording and amazingly I found it on YouTube!

(2) Shir playing Shalom Aleichem from the album From the Heart which you can listen to on Soundcloud its track 8.

(3) Gould Trio playing Brahms Piano Trio in C minor No3

Next Up Myself

(1) Adiemus: The Etrenal Knot Track No 1 Cu Chillan


(2) Toumani Diabete and Ballake Sissoko New Ancient Strings Track No. 1 Bi Lamban

(3) Google and You Tube commission Internet symphony by Tan Dun entitled Eroica

And finally we rounded off with a comic ditty from John

Jonathon Adam and Robin Ray singing When you are old and Grey from the stage  production Tomfoolery which is available on itunes Track 6

Monday 12 October 2015

Desert Island Disks

I was asked to pick 3 recordings as my "Desert Island" disks for our Music Appreciation group which meets tomorrow. After much deliberation I picked the following -

(1) Ch Chullain, from Adiemus: The Eternal Knot by Karl Jenkins - because it reminds me of my Celtic heritage and is uplifting;

(2) Bi Lamban by Toumani Diabete and Ballake Sissoko, two master players from Mali of is probably my favourite sounding instrument, the kora, from west Africa;


(3) Tan Dun's Eroica - The Internet Symphony because I love fusion is all things - food, music - and this has it, with intertextual homages and great percussion, I love it. 

Suicide on the beach?

Todays scenario for our Writing Group in class exercise was as follows:
On the beach you find a scrap of paper with hand writing saying “John says it would be better this way – but what do you ……” , write the background to this

Should I go or should I stay?
Will my nights become my day
Will shadows into colour blend
or stagger forward to the end?

Should I go or should I stay?
Will rainbows push away the rain?
Tears dried up but streaks remain
Mascaraed eyes to hide my pain.

Lightning claps and thunder sounds
My head is spinning round and round
Storm filled the howling seawind blows
Should I stay or should I go?

( I am imagining a tormented woman had been on the beach, contemplating whether to stay in her abusive relationship or not, where to stay in life or not, after her partner has said it would be better if she were dead)

© Sheila Ash 12 October 2015

Saturday 10 October 2015

In Cameo

8 lines curve upon the screen
a minimalist caricature
of the puppet master.
the music begins
Gunoud’s Funeral March of a Marionette
his silhouette floats by
an eternal cameo.

definitive, trademarked
totally identifiable
this self deprecating cartoon of his old man’s curve.
the ponchy, chubby, tubby soul
this master of suspense looks
weirdly like an elder Tintin without his trusted dog.

He’s suited up
Hairline receding
double chin flapping as he walks and talks
Those eyes, peering down his nose
through glasses that were never there
Over his pug dog droopy jaws
penetrating, demanding, interrogating,
making us look deep into our own souls
maximising the fear we see within.

he always appeared slightly aloof
from his herd of actors
like his cameras
props for his craft
pitching up to transform us into willing voyeurs
to bring our gaze in close
only to find him there “in cameo”

© Sheila Ash, 2015

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Monday 5 October 2015

Me and I


This weeks prompt was a silver Victorian/art nouveau hand mirror similar to this picture. Our tutor asked us to look at ourselves in the mirror, image some 10 or 20 years previous and see where that reflection took us in our writing.

I found this quite hard as I don’t normally do much character based writing, but after a hesitant start which ate up some 5 of my 20 minutes, I came up with the following.




I see you, you look at me
Are we the same?
Always and forever linked
in past and present,
Stepping together into our future
You pull one way, I another.
Yet somehow we find a common path.

If I met you on the street
would recognition follow?
Would I like you?
Find you fun?
Your smile infectious,
your skins soft,
your eyes appealing?

You tell me off when courage fails
Laugh at my silliness
Shoulder my pain.
Know all my fears and dreams.

Are you my missing soul mate?
my partner in crime?
my unborn twin
whose dent is still in my ribcage
or merely a reflection of me?

© Sheila Ash, 2015

Sunday 4 October 2015

In the end everything simply began…..


Divine hands at work.
Particles expand.
Whatever! Am I bothered?
Does it matter? Dark matter
Big bangs, multiple universes
expanding ever outwards into nothingness.

What was there before?
A void?
the absence of all is surely something in itself?
A singularity?
Located where? in what? on what?
The Kantian fallacy of absolutes
gives way instead to spacetime curvatures.

Dynamic, unfixed, shaped by matter and energy
bubbles in the boiling pot
summing possible histories
into inflationary expansion
strong gravitational fields propelling
a quantum potential?

There amongst the thermal cosmic background
a cosmological constant?
Einstein’s blunder revived as the accelerator
for dark energy ignition
of life.

Of life. Of death.
Transitions measuring time’s passage,
confirming our finite nature within the Infinities
and Aristotle’s adage that something eternal is more perfect than something created

© Sheila Ash, 2015