By Gerry Stewart
The Sun Opens a Dialogue
My neighbour chats through the hedge,
of isolation and paths through an old forest.
We stand, shovel and boots set firm
in my garden and she in hers,
as she shares advice like any other day.
Her dog pulls her onto their walk
and I turn back to my work.
The soil in the veg boxes has warmed,
the centipedes uncurl their gold-brown shells,
sparkling amid the damp black clods.
Among them I place winter-pale garlic sprouts,
heads up to catch the warmth passing by.
I could almost forget.
Corona Spring Clean
Cooped up too long by winter
and the virus’s isolation,
my son bursts into the garden,
offering help, inverted quotes.
Given permission, he knows no restraint,
hacking great branches
that huddle too close together.
He ignores the trick of angling the blade,
twists the green threads
around the secateurs until they break.
He wounds and tears the bark,
leaving pale skin exposed.
He drops the refuse for me to tidy,
twigs bleeding spring from the tips,
sparkling buds against the still gray lawn.
The hedgerow is left bare, stricken.
Too many thinned, cut down in hope.
My lilacs will not bloom this summer.
Don’t Say It’s Over
Geese trickling time like worry beads.
Heard first, their calls twist in my throat,
silhouettes against the blanched sky.
They rush to escape the second wave
building after a summer of quiet
spent knuckled-down in the nest.
An imperceptible ache creeps in,
released with opening doors,
flinging back borders, in our loose laughter.
I wash sweat from the sheets,
from my skin, wishing autumn moonlight
could rinse away this fear.
Gerry Stewart is a poet, creative writing tutor and editor based in Finland. Her poetry collection Post-Holiday Blues was published by Flambard Press, UK. Totems is to be published by Hedgehog Poetry Press in 2021. Her writing blog can be found at http://thistlewren.blogspot.fi/ and @grimalkingerry on Twitter.
Writing during the Corona outbreak has been a mixed bag, juggling time, commitments, enthusiasm. We haven’t had a strict lockdown in Finland since the spring, but working in a school means I’ve had to avoid most public things anyway. I’ve tried to write when I’ve had the time, but home-schooling my own kids made that difficult. Some days I’ve just plodded on with my writing in the hopes that something would happen. It usually didn’t, but I’m hoping it will become composted for future writing.