Sunday 25 November 2018

If you’ve enjoyed reading my poems please read on ……

Please show your appreciation by supporting the NGO I worked for in India, through either of their 2 Global Giving Projects.
(1) Old Age Home – providing a safe environment and health care for elderly people
(2) School – providing education for children who have been involved in child labour

Donations can be made via the usual methods – card, Paypal, Apple Pay, mobile phone, M-Pesa and others. 
There are lots of familiar faces on their OAH project picture echoing the good care and medical help received increasingly through donations.

Past grandeur by Sheila Ash

Elaborate balconies cling to the block’s side
like warts on an old lady’s face.
Wrought ironwork veins verdigris its concrete skin
shimmering moistly from rain canalling to corners,
trickling tears of regret for its dereliction in modernity.

© Sheila Ash, 2018

In Memoria - Peter Ward by Sheila Ash

The old jazzman watches from the wings –

The saxophone brashly bursts upon the ballroom
energising the moment, uplifting the mood.
On cue, his soft sweeping, beat keeping sticks
break their gentle cadence.
Dancers feet begin to pound
joining his tympanic crescendo.
Traditional arrangements revitalised,
familiar melodies syncopated
with raspy imperfections.
His own opus improvised
with tones from another place, timbres from another time.

The wings are empty now.
His kit sits silent.
Lingering notes imbue our solitude.

He, in a different place with a different audience, plays on.

© Sheila Ash, 2018

Chicken Livers by Sheila Ash

Chicken LiversIn the nagar, stall holders banter with passers-by
words filling the air like a chorus of crickets after the rains.
Hadija’s smile greets my Sunday morning approach
Her hair, jet black, plait thick as rope, hangs nonchalantly over her shoulder
her saree’s colour steals from beneath her apron wrap
bangles glisten and jangle as merrily as her chatter.
Comfortable in our Otherness we Namaste and Namaskar,
ask after each other’s wellbeing, as she reaches for a bird
fresh for her regular customer.
Two poles and a remnant wall hold proud the side-less stall’s rattan roof
plastic tarpaulin shading the polished metal sheet of her counter
as its rests on cinder blocks and straddles the caged birds below.
To one side a ubiquitous large blue plastic basin sits hatted by a food umbrella.
To the other her butcher’s block, worn down by repeated cleaver blows -
a tree stump, stained red in blood.
She skilfully breaks the bird’s neck, removes the skin,
buckets castoff feet for the poor, discards unwanted innards,
until pointing a tentative mu lagibi bahut achi
gets it added to my parcel of meat chopped up Indian style.
A bemused smile teaches me Kalija, my only Telugu word.

© Sheila Ash, 2018