Gerry Stewart

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the poet

Gerry Stewart is a poet, creative writing tutor and editor based in Finland. Her collection Totems is to be published by The Hedgehog Poetry Press.

the poems

Barnhill, Jura

00:00 / 01:10
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            My backpack saws against my jacket

            highlighting each stride,

            1984 miles signposted to Orwell’s haunt,

            the distance doubled to my sore knees.


            My friend offers scout-leader patience

            at my toddler concerns

            of ‘Are we even halfway there yet?’

            For her, this is a mere warm-up

            for tomorrow’s trek of all three Paps.


            I’m not here just for the mountains,

            the smack of island blue or long-lost friends,

            but to reconnect with my first self

            who stepped blindly on her own path

            and discovered those things had meaning.


            Lunch among the thistles,

            ferns and cow pies below the house,

            blue seas and sailboats,

            I relish each aching moment.


            Back down The Long Road,

            words on snapped tiles, embedded in mud,

            read like the poetry of sore feet

            and bumbling boots.

Turned Page

00:00 / 00:44
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                        if I start with soil

                        and the random pull of the sun


                        the hours lost

                        would have a root

                        a truth


                        the glisten of rain

                        solemnity


                        potential

                        in my weight

                        behind the spade’s edge


                        promise

                        in the lilt of a cabbage white

                        from the dark corners

                        of the compost heap


                        if I could start with soil

                        till the hours

                        clean open


                        there would be poetry

The Kick Sledge

00:00 / 01:23
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            I want to take the potkukelkka

            across a frozen lake

            on a sinivalkoinen* day.


            With its mitten-worn grips,

            wooden seat smoothed by generations,

            it voices a squeaking,

            scraping language

            I can lean into.


            Trees bow to me

            under the weight of a fine dry snow.

            My boots pound, setting up

            that perfect glide

            over the singing dark ice.


            Wind-bitten cheeks, lungs burning,

            I kick a last fleeting contact with the earth

            and then fly

                                        into silence,

                                                                       uncapturable.


            When I tire, a fire pit waits

            with a hand-carved kuksa of tea

            and a fresh korvapuusti.


            I pretend to be Finnish.


            Then I remember: I hate winter,

            its piercing, truthful glare.

            Finland and I

            are barely on speaking terms.


            I crawl under my duvet until spring.

*Blue and white: another name for the flag

  inspired by Finnish lakes, sky and snow.

Publishing credits

Barnhill, Jura: StAnza's Poetry Map of Scotland (Poem No. 351) 

Turned Page: Ten Writers Writing (Lochwinnoch Writers)

The Kick Sledge: Spelt Magazine (Issue 1)