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Sheila Lockhart

Sheila Lockhart.jpeg

You Are Here by Sheila Lockhart

Sheila Lockhart chooses to think of herself as a poet these days. She’s lived on the Black Isle since 1989, having moved slowly northwards from her London birthplace, stopping off on the way for fifteen years in Edinburgh. In that time she was an art historian and a social worker, taking up writing after she retired.

 

She studied Creative Writing with the Open University and likes to indulge in online workshops and real-life courses at Moniack Mhor, where she also convenes the Moniack Poets, who meet up at Moniack Mhor once a month. 

 

She has been published online and in magazines and anthologies, including Northwords Now, The Ekphrastic Review, Twelve Rivers (Journal of the Suffolk Poetry Society, of which she’s a member), Alchemy Spoon, and Dreich.

 

Her poem ‘You Are Here’ (see below) was nominated for the Pushcart Prize in 2022. As a former art historian, Sheila has a particular interest in ekphrastic poetry. She also writes about the natural environment, the lives of women, and about loss and bereavement.

 

Her debut pamphlet Brother, which reflects on the mental illness and death of her brother, is published in November 2023 by V.Press.

 

watching a bumblebee

squeeze its furry abdomen

into foxglove fingers

you’re trying to work out

how long it takes for a pollen molecule

to travel from the soil up to its calyx

you’re getting close      but now you see

another galaxy has formed 

a splotch of swirling grey

in a pink universe    how many is that now?

you count them   one two three

five hundred and sixty seven

and the letters too  

directing pollinators to the hidden source

of happiness     and why not you?

a message for bees

can’t be that hard to decode

it’s alphabetical after all    a matter of

triggering the right responses

 

now the rain splashes silver curtains

smearing pink and cream

blurring outlines 

its drops tap-tapping on cups

their pipes vibrate with fugal harmonies

truths which must be recorded

with mathematical precision

using special symbols on graph paper

no easy task     but the beauty of it

oh the beauty of it makes you weep

if only you could grasp   its exactitude

its magnificent systems   everything

would be     clear

there was a time you could enjoy

simple pleasures of line   patterns of colour   

as you would looking at an abstract painting

no need to search for meaning everywhere

until one day you started counting

the number of flowers on each stem

the number of bees  ones twos threes

stacking up behind your eyes

and you began to see

how every flower contains a universe

that demands investigation

how you could read their messages

how they insisted on it

 

you’ll have the answer worked out

very soon    you just need one more

tiny calculation

 

After You Are Here, a painting by Lorette C. Luzajic 2021

Get in touch with Sheila

 

Sheila can be found on social media on Facebook and Twitter (@SheilaMLockhart). More poems can be read on Linktree at www.linktr.ee/sheilalockhart

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