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Helen Sheppard

Twitter: @HelenSheppard7
Updated: Mon, 9 Apr 2018 10:57 pm

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Helen writes poems about birth and those unheard. Inspired from working as a midwife. Activities and events Satellite of Love Spoken Word events. Delighted to be Poet in Residence with monthly open mics and community poems. FB satellite of Love, @SOL_Poetry Wordathon, Arnolfini Bristol. Co -organised with SOL team, poets, fiction writers, poetry. Novel Nights literary events recent compère and has organised new writer readings 2016-2017. Bristol Literature Festival, Children's event 'Bring your own Language', collaboration with publisher River Island and Bristol libraries, poets, authors and illustrators. 2016 Published; Hippocrates Poetry & Medicine anthology 2017, I am Not a Silent Poet, Emergency poet, Blue of Noon, Poems in the Waiting Room. various anthologies. Voices Along the Road Alf Dubs anthology 2018 Wild Women Press 2018 Ink Sweat & Tears 2018 Competitions Recently commended in Hippocrates Poetry and Medicine Prize 2017 for poem 'Opening'. Performances 2017 Nuyorican Poetry Cafe, NYC Berkeley Square Poetry Revue, Bristol Cortelyou Library, Brooklyn Persisters events London and Bristol Wordathon, Arnolfini Bristol Harvard Medical School, Boston Satellite of Love Spoken Word Events, Bristol 2018 Torriano Meeting House, London Milk Poetry, Warm Milk, Bristol Verse


Opening A gestation reaches its timely conclusion Her muscled hammock softens, slackens I am with her wet slit, hands quiet, ready A head down pressure, spine to belly Her womb now taut as a new balloon I hear heart beat code, pains come, go A tuft of hair appears, recedes to tease Her skin peels over a spongy first frown I map read headland suture, fontanelle A flicker of eyelids, phantom of a new Her hands clutch knees, chin tucks in I prop her heel on my hip, bear down A nose tips. Bloodline, too early to know Her guttural sounds, deep, old as Eve I breath in rhythm between her pushes A fold of ear unfurls as lips pucker apart Her fingers stretch over, stroke baby hair I loosen cord. A rough touch can mutilate A breath held moment. Bruise blue runs to red Her opening forgotten, already starts to close. .................................... Walking with Dad Dad says, when we are first born our stomachs are size of a walnut. He spews up his gut full of tiny cannibals who eat and eat and…, shares his cheese pickle sandwiches. He is empty Dad teaches a child to slide a rule. He tells me Logarithm and amoeba are proof of existence, computers will devour our facts and remember pies are always square never round He dims down Dad lies belly down over cliffs at Land’s End. A child straddles his ankles. He reaches for rocks for his rockery. They body pivot, stretch. Rocks splurge into squall They are budgies Dad sleeps behind door locks Hospital ghosts float too close He puckers to kiss and spit pills Pockets full of drop stitch holes, trail crumbs from chair to bed He has forgotten ---------------------------- Porcelain A waif of a girl with a porcelain face, waits for a boy, almost a man with an easy smile He makes her laugh. Says she's worth knowing. Fourteen and a half, she's ready for love. He tells her to fly. In a car they ride away from city lit streets. She tries a toke, from a spliff. He says breathe. Hold in your throat, feel mellow be bold. He tells her to smile. Gives her a phone, all contacts his own. She answers day, night whenever he calls. He makes her play. In a line they leave her battered and torn He tells her to die. Best left for dead. Her soul in a mess. Months never found. One day, warm breath flows to her lips. Her rape angel grows. Feather down wings pierce, unfurl. She takes flight. A sickle of moon catches her throat. This grace of a girl screams, shatters her porcelain face.

All poems are copyright of the originating author. Permission must be obtained before using or performing others' poems.

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pauline sewards

Sat 9th Apr 2016 20:14

Amazing imagery in these poems. I also like that they seem written from a deep well of experience of care work. The work is anchored in specific, realistic details but goes far beyond this.

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