The Seal

the seal from next door borrows my bathtub
to loll in cool water. He says, there's nowhere left
to get wet and lets himself in with the key I leave
in a dried up sea under broken corrugated coral.

When I get home,
I close the mouth of the loo; sit and watch
him swish this way and that; his fat, wet behind
rises up and down like a barren island in a storm,
sending waves to me –

the kind that make you want to club the wicked,

or throw a fish.

when only his head can be seen,
we talk in ripples that circle him;
silence our lost worlds.

I don’t know why he comes, it’s not as if we're lovers:
he’s a seal, and I just live here.

From The night my sister went to Hollywood, Cultured Llama, 2013

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It’s one thing to have a vivid imagination. It’s another to be adept at language. It’s quite another to be gifted with the language to release and express that imagination. Hilda Sheehan has all three. She has the ability to see the pathos – as well as the joie de vivre – in the human comedy, and to convey it in a vigorous and sometimes seductively surreal language. We are enabled to see what we may not have been able or prepared to see, or even thought of seeing: this is what poetry is all about. Robert Vas Dias (Still Life, Shearsman)

A joyful, freewheeling poetry that showcases a surreal wit worn with a lightness that can only be achieved through a firm grip on her craft and a sure habitation of her magically real neighbourhood. This is a collection that licks its hanky and scrubs the muck from your chops. Martin Malone (The Waiting Hillside, Templar)

Hilda Sheehan’s trajectory from raw talent to accomplished craftswoman has been breath-taking. Her poems are unsettling, dark, humorous, and poignant at once.  She has the astonishing ability to be poignant at her most bizarre and humorous. Hilda is a risky poetry that reveals uncomfortable subtexts to do with mothering, family relationships, relationships between women, marriage and sex. This is a poet who can use bizarre, even surreal imagery, to clarify the natural. It is a poetry to be reckoned with; a poetry deserving of, and altogether ready to be, shared with a wider audience. Wendy Klein (Cuba in the Blood, Cinnamon Press)