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Sheila Lockhart

Sheila Lockhart was brought up in London and moved to Scotland in 1974, first Edinburgh and, for the past thirty years, the Black Isle. After retiring from a career in social work she has tried to keep herself out of mischief studying and writing, and aspires to produce a decent poem one day. She has had poems published in Northwords Now, Nine Muses Poetry, The Ekphrastic Review, Writers’ Café Magazine and Twelve Rivers. She draws her inspiration from nature, seeking metaphors for human life in its large and small beauties.

The poem below won the Tarradale Through Time Challenge and was published in the Writers’ Café Magazine Issue 19.  She joined Ross-shire Writers in 2018 and is also a member of the Suffolk Poetry Society.

 

The Last Man 

 

At first it was a rough ride,

soil was heaved,

rocks and earth flung aside.

I trembled

as they stripped off the years.

 

Later a kind of tenderness,

as they lifted and sifted

the fine grains of the past.

Rain seeped in, rinsing clean

what once had been my flesh.

 

I heard their voices, familiar

yet strange, like echoes

from the day they laid me here

to rest.

 

They didn’t bring the usual offerings,

but stood around at dusk,

hushed and listening, respecting

the mysteries of the place.

Their shadows stroked

what once had been my face.

 

When they’ve left I’ll sleep again,

until rain dissolves all trace of me.

Dream of geese weaving seasons

through the skies,

of battle cries and boots and hooves,

ploughmen’s songs,

furrowed fields, strangers

at my tomb.

 

Now night creeps round the sacred hill.

The last man turns to go,

weighed down with questioning.

My silent voice calls out,

one last sweep will shed my shroud.

A shadow on sand is all that’s left.

Enough for him.

 

My sightless eyes gaze up,

behind his smile wild geese

still weaving seasons through the skies.

 

(Tarradale, September 2019)

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