Sheena Bradley

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 OrbisThe Beacon, As It Ought To Be, (AIOTB), Poets’ Choice and in Dear Reader.

BBC Late Night News Northern Ireland 1970

Where the shootings? Where the bombs?
What has happened, in whose name,
under what flag and how many dead?  

Every night, my mother refuses to go to bed 
until she hears about the latest atrocities.
She sits sideways on her easy chair, 
cup in hand, cigarette smoking in the ashtray,
waiting, listening. 

It is a small country, 
names of towns, rivers and mountains
roll like comfort on her tongue,
friends and relatives in every county 
from Derry to Fermanagh.

Mammy, go to bed. 
There’s nothing you can do.

But they’re my people, she says,
they’re all my people.

Spear of Izanagi

I stand with you Izanami, on this dark bridge 
between earth and heaven, a red gold
halo of moonlight burnishes your hair. 
The jewelled Spear of the Elders glitters 
in my hand, entwined in the other,
your small fingers, warm and comforting.

Sibling Gods, we gaze with wonder
upon earth’s blue-black velvet ocean –
now ours. The gate through which 
we passed, closes behind us, 
fades in a flurry of mist as we falter
on the swing and sway of slats beneath our feet.

Ahead, the challenge of our future life, 
to create order from chaos. 
Taking strength from your smile, I grip
tight the naginata, reach across the rail
and swirl the blade in brine,
turn a whirlpool to turquoise.  

I raise it high from the water, 
call loud to Elder Gods for creation 
of order, watch viscous drops 
fall from the tip and spread to form 
eight great islands, mountains,
rivers and trees. 

A blazing orb crests the far horizon, 
colours shine red, green and gold 
in that sun-reflecting sea.
The bridge dissolves in mist as we descend together
and kneel to kiss the soil of our home –

Our Land of the Rising Sun.

A Shinto creation myth holds that sibling Gods, Izanagi and Izanami came from heaven to create Japan.

Black Magic Woman

Singing Winds and Crying Beasts wind around my skull
as Santana’s Abraxas spins on the turntable, sounds
mingle with the swirl of sweaty smoke across
the pillow. Not my boyfriend, but hers. He has 
the music, hash, beer, flame red hair
and a black Mini Cooper to transport us
to imagined raptures in the mountains 
and sorcery of the Hellfire Club.
Next day, I won’t remember his name.

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