Bound: Gerry Stewart

July 6, 2017

 

 

 Untitled work by the Dutch painter Teun Hocks.

 

"My poetry examines the changing landscape of my life, between moving from country to country, but also into motherhood. It revels in the small moments of beauty while also facing the realisation that it will always be a challenge to find one's place."

 

 

 

 

Gerry Stewart is a poet, creative writing tutor and editor living in Finland. Her collection 'Post-Holiday Blues' was published by Flambard Press, UK. Her writing blog is thistlewren.blogspot.fi/

Bound

Inspired by an untitled painted photograph by Teun Hocks

 

When will this world finish

its infernal unravelling?

 

I cannot miss a stitch,

this garment cannot hold its shape

against time’s furious spiral.

 

Beneath this dim light,

spoiled by moths dying in its fire,

it is difficult to count each knit and purl.

 

My work is unending,

bringing together moments of existence

on this twirling mass of inconsistencies.

 

A Fate with golden thread

my needles click out time,

swivelling around each other

with the speed of angels

tying knots in God’s shoelaces.

 

I can never cast off

or step into the unknown

that hovers just at the edge of my vision.

 

The yarn keeps unwinding,

never frays or releases

its constant tug against my senses. 

 

One dropped stitch,

the tangled universe breaks apart.

 

How I long to turn away

and let it unravel itself to nothing.

 

 

 

before

 

we could take a whirl                                             

across the floor                                                        

spinning like children                                                        

in our beat-up shoes

hands and cheeks touching

eyes closed to all

breathing each other in

 

or

we could find an old pan

and bang it like a drum

wake the neighbours

and the sleeping dogs

with our caterwauling

singing a wordless song

we thought we’d long forgotten

 

or

we could whisper

sweet nothings

in each other’s ears

giggle in front of strangers

until they give us odd looks

 

I don’t mind

 

give me a day alone with you

in some distant place

until we can remember

 

what we used to do

 

 

 

The Sound of the Sea

 

That long-lost summer,

hushed and humid,

before you were a wish.

 

Days of no rhyme,

no reason to wake early,

he and I discovered

what had been overlooked

at the water’s fluttering edge.

 

A sun-baked folly,

feet tucked beneath me

on the stone-tossed beach

as your father recorded

the sea’s white noise.

 

Waves reached close and urgent

for the tape machine.

 

Electrics sizzling with the spray,

its motion grinding,

hum and click,

against mementos of sand.

 

Stashed, forgotten,

the dusty tape stretched thin

across the decade.

 

Again a Greek afternoon laps

at the shore of our unmade bed,

bringing you into our dream.

 

You in your niche,

a seed’s heart

hard-carved from our bodies,

we are pushed towards sleep.

 

 

 

The Sound of the Sea/2

 

The sea’s salt mouth

with dark whispers

sucks at stones

in its rush to touch, to know.

 

Our breaths mingle,

drawing close the arms

of that long-lost summer,

youth rediscovered,

hushed and humid.

 

Before you were a wish.

 

 

 

Awaiting Exodus

 

Another wrench of goodbye.

 

We start in the summer glow,

Finland at her welcoming best,

stumbling to the shore

with our transplanted lives.

 

Our children bind us, magnetise 

our need to understand.

The vital and the throw-away details

overwhelm our days;

the rules for winter clothing layers,

why pea soup is served on a Thursday.

 

Those settled offer advice,

steer us towards parks, shops and playgroups.

They don’t whisper or give warning:

one or two move off to new beginnings,

soon more tug free, the autumn rush 

of birch leaves whipped away.

 

Replaced by an urge to squirrel away

memories, hours together.

We attempt to line our nests with friends,

scrabbling to store up a momentary glut,

hoping one will settle deeper.

 

Pledged to remain, I turn to hibernation,

burrowing beneath the drifts.

                                                                          

Left behind on the cracking banks

we scrape away the snow,

seeking hints of spring.

We long to emerge

into friendly warmth and light.

 

 

 

 

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