Sharon Phillips – Stay Alert

Stay alert

New alerts show poems, death stats
and delicious ways with lentils;
you wonder how the algorithms work
these things out, then you flit to a clip

of a TV chef and start to get tetchy,
all that pernickety chip-chip-chopping,
ingredients in bowls, lectures on pans:
you’re slap and dash you crack on

to the next task tick it off your list
but that habit became outdated when
time started to stick then lurch past,
days jerking from endless to over

the way lentils turn from firm to mush
while you’re distracted by your phone
and although it is against your grain,
you try to be more attentive

not to rush, not to cram activities in
but to stretch each one out, alert
to its detail, since the time that’s left
could be less than you thought.


Sharon’s poems have been published online and in print, and have been shortlisted for the Bridport Prize (2017), the Indigo Firsts pamphlet competition (2018) the WoLF Poetry Competition (2019) and the seventh Ó Bhéal Five Words competition (2020). Sharon won the Borderlines Poetry Competition in 2017, was among the winners of the Poetry Society Members’ Competition in November 2018 and was Highly Commended in the Bridport Prize (2019). She has recently moved to Otley, in West Yorkshire.

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