Monday 27 March 2017

Writer’s Block

He sits and stares
the world passes by.
Birds sing, outside
planes fly.

He lifts the pen
the page to replenish
a few words written
the sentence left unfinished.

He puts on the kettle
and drinks a cup of tea
wanders round the hallways
then has another three.

One hour later
again at the table
with fresh sheet of paper
is his pen more able

to complete the work to hand
or continue to struggle?
is he facing writer’s block
or is his mind just in a muddle?

© Sheila Ash 27th March 2017

Thursday 23 March 2017

Westminster Wake up Call

This time a loan assassin
drove madly at the crowd
his car upon the pavement
a bloody furrow ploughed.

With knife in hand he’s running
towards the guarding man
who bravely did his duty
no weapon but his hand.

The shots run out so quickly
catching everyone unawares
the stumbling and the panic
the closing of the stairs.

Westminster is in lock down
tourists trapped aboard the Eye
the scurrying for cover
no time to say goodbye.

A woman in the river
French students in the road
the suspect car abandoned
This terror episode

has London in all its glory
ground to a sudden halt
yellow jacket SWATs and paramedics
blood on the asphalt.

Apathy’s rude awakening
the writing’s on the wall
It doesn’t happen just in France
for us all a wakeup call.

Amidst the heightened heartbeats
a reassuring sound was heard
a teacher’s calm instructions
her young charges voices stirred.

That choir of children’s’ voices
in the corridors of power
proved no act of shameful terror
could our bright future sour.

Democracy’s been threatened
but continues to stand tall
The unarmed and disarming
defiant through it all.

© Sheila Ash 23 March 2017

Monday 20 March 2017

Dreams of Flying

Free climbing

Long chalky fingers hold me fast
Sweat drips with the rising sun
Legs flex and stretch out and up
I swing, the foothold found
as with my last grasp
I make the top.

High perched like an eagle
I scan the horizon
of the caldera stretching south
as peaceful breathing returns.
The pinnacle conquered,
climbed free, thirst quenched,
I stand, survey my world
then jump upon the thermals.

© Sheila Ash 20th March 2017


Sunday 19 March 2017

Who I am today

In my head, the sands of Tin Merzouga blend
their red with the purple heathers of Alba.
My heart has bled its contradictions,
its longing nostalgia.

I did not choose to live alone
but alone I chose to remain.
Far winds have blown me home
but I miss the open plain,
sun drenched bones,
the joys of monsoon rain.

Life’s experiences, good and bad,
made me who I am:
this peter pan,
this lover of life, this supporter of Oxfam.

Not one for looking in the mirror,
not through fear or dread,
I know what’s there, I tread
happy in my skin,
my soul within sings each day
to the beat of the distant tambour.


© Sheila Ash 19th March 2017

Monday 13 March 2017

Desert Larks


Two balls of dusky camouflage
lost to their playful scurry
I am in no hurry
to rise
to disturb these twin juvenile desert larks
rolling and cavorting in the dawn light
their trills crescendo into my wake up choir.

The frenzied fluster of flapping wings
tickles my nostril.
I am still,
except for watering eyes
from my smothered sneeze
stifled into my own down.

They dance and play
oblivious to my awakening.
Not threatening,
I lie
watching in wonder and awe
expecting the breeze to rustle them
off into the distant dunes.

Two balls of feathered ancestry
as ancient as pharaohs
as fluffy as the angora boleros
of my childhood
full of comfort and warmth.
the birds’ sand bath grains rise
like the sparks of last night’s fire.

© Sheila Ash, 13th March 2017

Note: I think these were Ammomanes deserti whitakeri, the South Algerian desert lark. One morning in the Sahara I woke up to a pair only six inches from my nose.

Tuesday 7 March 2017

The last word

We didn’t realise till too late. The rise in doctor’s visits was probably the first sign, more complaints of tiredness put down to rat-race stress. The rises in early onset dementia, in early menopause, noticed but unexplained. McPherson’s article on the epidemiology of progeroid syndromes was missed outside a small circle of academics. The tabloids only got the story when their own staff succumbed. World governments had already sequestered scientists to find cause and cure but they too succumbed before much headway was made. No time for panic to set in as the problem spiralled exponentially out of control. Children born on Monday were adult by Saturday and dead in the week. Reproduction all but ceased, the fabric of society as our grandfathers had known disintegrated in the increasingly frantic scramble to eat and procreate. My child will be born today. I won’t hear its cry, humanity’s final word.

150 words