The Covenant

My summer fling with the city over,
I cherish a final horizon.

Arthur’s Seat shrugs its halo
of agate brown water
swirled with a jewelled blue-green
over its shoulder,
hiding it below a bony hip.

‘Nessun Dorma’ bathes the world
from an open car door.
It spreads its metal wings
in beatific adoration.

A shiver of calm before I escape.

I am waiting for summer angels
striding over the sleeping volcano,
faces burned and sparkling.

Trumpets silent,
their message proclaimed;
this day is done, its beauty
wrung from sky and earth,
cloven from stone.

I step down, borne
by a simple splash
of liquid illumination. 

The city resting
on the wrong side of night
lays a subtle trap.

© Gerry Stewart

The Forgotten Orchard

I walk the dog as an excuse,
to get away from brothers and demands.
My quickening steps swish
through the long grass
as I’m let off the leash.

Across the fields insects whirr,
their spit speckling my legs.
His russet ears lift like wings
as he jumps ahead.
Our paths disappear after we pass,
keeping the secret.

We are drawn to the silence
of the abandoned trees.
they throw themselves into the light
like gnarled old nuns
caught in an unseemly dance.

Dank lichen stains my skin,
I hide deep in the leaves,
unharvested contemplation
in the scented petals.

© Gerry Stewart

Feeling Lost

I can’t give you directions
to where I want to go.
We are coming from different places
and the turns and tangles
I need to follow to return
would take you too far out of your way.
You never had much patience for detours.

The place I remember no longer exists.
It’s moved on with time as have I,
both gray and bedraggled,
though you can see
I never truly left it behind.
I carry pieces with me,
broken and out-of-place
in my everyday life,
that allow me to revisit,
trinkets or time machines.
Doubtful they’d work for you.

It’s a land of contrasts
and I miss its split personality,
too much like my own
you’d probably say.
Maybe you wouldn’t find
the same comfort
in the silence of its hills
or see the joke in the familiar graffiti,
but it’s worth taking the time
to grub beneath our surface.

Its voice is at once
rough, garbled and sweetly easing
on the mind, if you listen closely.
It calls me home
but it was never mine.

I hope you find it on your own,
it’s worth the search.

© Gerry Stewart

By Way of Silence

After they scatter to school, to nursery,
doors close, hemming in the house’s mood.
The end of a sigh that says it all.

I sift the chaff and wheat
of a long to-do list
and ignore it for a cup of tea.

Dust balls sneak out with food crumbs
to the bubbling of jam
and the laundry piles shrinking and rising,
either side of the scales of done.

Worries rankle and fight,
hedging a path best avoided.

Follow instead an internal rhythm,
piling and shaping words,
trimming lines into a form,
loving their heft on my tongue.

© Gerry Stewart