Sheena was born in a small town in Northern Ireland and went to University in Dublin. She spent five great years in Liverpool and has now lived in Nottingham, longer than anywhere else. She worked as a Radiologist in Grantham, Lincolnshire for 22 years, and since retirement has been writing, mostly poetry but really anything – except radiology reports.
She completed her BA in English Lit. with the OU in 2016.
She loves words and images, but also mountains, bogs, beaches, (she goes to Kerry in the West of Ireland for all those) birds and clouds, which luckily she can get anywhere, and all sorts of natural things.
Her eldest son lives in Japan with his family, and before travel restrictions entered our lives, she visited that country regularly and loved their rich history, culture, traditions and poetry which inspired her Dissertation for her MA in Creative Writing completed at NTU in 2018.
Many of her poems have been published in Sarasvati, Dawntreader and Reach, (The Indigo Dreams Press). Her work has also appeared in Orbis, The Beacon, As It Ought To Be, (AIOTB), Poets’ Choice and in Dear Reader.
Huldre plunges from the forest, red scarf restraining rusty curls. Her chequered skirts fly purple as buzzard wings explode into frosty sky, she crushes wind-ruffled bog cotton under running feet. Buds of bracken awaken to a clamour of sacrificial cries, sweat breaks from burly bodies as they squelch through turf. She turns and knows her future now. Blade and bone scrunch. Her solid form splashes into claggy water. Marsh bubbles drift, cling to the bog’s sphagnum face. Her sanguine fluid swirls to the swamp’s algid heart. Wet jaws grasp crossed wooden staves that thrust her body to acid depths, locking hard.
I I don’t remember leaving Ireland, only arriving, a new-born foal, jelly legs unsteady after weeks aboard the Empress of France. Parents speak rapidly with smiling voices, emigrants to a New World. Quebec is light, colour, noise and swooshing cars with glossy names, Chevrolet, Chrysler, Oldsmobile. My new half-brother speeds us in his Pontiac through pine forest tang, green trees go on forever. Already wide, the Petawawa River opens to the Ottawa,songs lilting in their names. This white house is just for us, we four – and that scary Jesus picture, shipped from home, flashing his fiery heart and follow-you eyes. Big brother, home from school, teaches me, Van Der Berg, Kinosha, Hoffmann, Schultz, twisting my tongue, unlike the easy roll of Mc Guigan, Hegarty and O'Brien. Featureless fading snowmen last for months, then summer’s melting heat, sticky hands, damp clingy sheets. On our way to picnicby a lake, the car skids on a million mashed caterpillars. I swim on Uncle's back, squealing, squealing, listening for echoes. Barbecue smoke clingsto hair and clothes as we ride home singing O Canada, our home and native land. II We’ve woken early to the rattle of rosary beads, the snuffle of snot and tears. Overnight, Daddy is gone. Brendan’s Pontiac races us through black woods to Pembroke Hospital. Daddy lies blue-lipped gasping and grey in a cold iron bed. In the ward with tiled walls, tiled floor, tang of antiseptic and carbolic on everything even Daddy smells strange as I am lifted for a kiss. Everyone speaks at once; scolding words criss-cross the bed. Heart failure, months to live, won’t have him die on foreign soil, hospital bills, money, tickets. My brother and I sit in a corner knowing to be silent. Maybe days later, maybe weeks, with faintest memory we take another ship, recross the Atlantic. Immigrants again, we return penniless, to no home. Our peaceful Irish village, alien already.
All the Chemistry I Never Knew
Miss Kennedy in permed grey curls tried hard to impart the knowledge of her years to unruly convent girls who cared nought about the structure of the atom or the Bus Seat Rule of electron capture. We were more concerned with how to backcomb glossy locks to capture attention, not electrons, from the boys of the Rainey Endowed on the bus back home. Properties of liquids and gases, the percentage of Nitrogen in air and how to show it, passed us by. We were more engaged with how much space each took up in minds of males obsessed like ours with nascent sexual concerns. Tears were distilled in heated crucibles of love and jealousy, elements of oxidation and reduction to be consumed before we balanced our equations. We burned with a passion just as bright as that magnesium filament, given the right oxygen of interest. The best catalysts were hormones over which we had no control, deposited unchanged after each encounter, awaiting another spark.