Sunday, 19 February 2017

Apollo 13

The cosmic curtain cloaked the 3 in silence
their fate hung in a delicate balance.
Downwards they fell, fast and furious,
to the world below, so still , so curious.
There, all daily life adjourned
to see if they would be returned.
Man stood full of fear and dread
3 minutes to know if all were dead.

They were the unexpected crew -
one trip before they had been due,
then changed again by German measles,
these 3 now faced the final evils.
Lovell, Swigert and Haise
had been in space a mere 3 days.

13, a number with a reputation,
announced its catastrophic devastation
with a bang. Power fluctuations,
Short loss of ship to shore communications.
Then, those now famous words,
cut through the air like deathly swords -
“Houston, we have had a problem”
Jack Swigert said, all calm and solemn.

The explosion put Odyssey past redemption
leaving Aquarius their only option.
Unable to scrub and clean their air
they faced death’s cold relentless stare.
Could they conjure up the part
to make Aquarius a safe life raft?
To take not 2, but bring home 3
required exceptional ingenuity.

Conserving power as pressure mounted.
Each step tested, each step accounted .
Until, with confidence, Control asserted
that square to round could be converted
by hypoxic brains and shivering hands
from things aboard. They had a plan.
In their hands a box of tricks
to make the great Heath Robinson fix.

Those minutes of re-entry violence,
Their mounting tension, mounting silence.
3 expected, been and gone;
4 came and went, far too long.
Blood pumped boldly through our veins,
ears strained like labour pains,
hands twitched with gross impatience,
tears waited in eyes across the nation,
Till o’er the air a faint crackle spluttered
gentle words were quietly heard to flutter.
Then hearts rejoiced in celebration
as 3 men walked out in strict procession.

Down in the history books it stands
a tribute to the endurance of Man.
A successful failure it’s been called
Apollo 13 who kept the world enthralled.

© Sheila Ash 19th February 2017


See and pg 167

(any factual errors are all my own!)

Monday, 6 February 2017

The forge


In sepia’s golden glows
a bellow blows.
Molten liquid flows
viscous like sloe gin
warming within.

The hammer beats the metal.
A shape begins to settle,
transforming like Jekyll
to hide and shield
the hoof on road and field.

© Sheila Ash 6th February 2017


Monday, 30 January 2017

B*gg*r off rap!

Monday morning grey and dreary
Got up late, feeling weary
Writing scripts that’s the theory
More like dialog hari-kiri.

Words in a mush I aim to order
Sentences slush like some speech disorder
Embarrassment rings in raging terrors
No song thrush sings o’e my virginal errors.

If you want Shakespeare, here’s a sonnet
Want some Bennett, pen it in the Senate
Fancy some Chekhov, just go bugger off
Want a word mash, read some of my hash
Doesn’t make any cash
but gives us a good laugh.

© Sheila Ash 30th January 2017