Ian Stuart is a British poet, living and working in York, one of the oldest cities in the UK. He has had work published in "Pennine Platform" "Obsessed with pipework" and other poetry publications. He lives in a small cottage outside he city walls with his wife, two cats and a small dog. He has been writing poetry for sixty years and is just beginning to get the hang of it.
Loping past lock-ups and kebab joints,
minicabs and massage parlours –
Lego colours on a Twenties terrace –
suburban semis, all with fitted lawns,
a baby Volvo parked in every driveway.
Sky line waving like a banner,
tugging folds and wrinkles straight,
stretching the fields canvas-tight
for the paint speck sheep.
A bight out of the land, a crescent shore
of splintered shale and rocks
gnawed by the breakers, rank on rank,
and in a scratched out garden by the beach
a blaze of sunflowers.
A filigree of intersecting lines
pale as gossamer against her skin –
it could almost be sunlight
silvering the bright hairs on her arm.
It is her talisman.
One time, when her mind was dark,
a blade between her fingers,
she incised a calendar of suffering there,
drawing hope from each bright bead of blood.
Whatever she released did not return.
At times she looks at what she once engraved
and sees a pattern carved by someone else
who died completing it.
You often see the ambulance round here
(the population’s getting old)
and things happen – usually at night.
You see their headlights swing into our road,
moving slowly till they find the house.
They go in quietly, without a fuss.
Ten minutes later and they’re out.
Wheelchair or stretcher ? You can guess
how serious it is. Doors thump shut.
I close the curtain.
It will come to all of us at last –
the pain that gnaws and can’t be talked away,
the bloodied sheet, the sudden, unexpected
loss of self.
I wonder, when it comes my turn,
if my neighbour, peeking through his blind,
will find some pity for me
within the selfish joy of his reprieve.
Spiders find it easy
stretch their strings of pearls from A to B,
create a warp and weave so wonderful
it dazzles passing flies, seducing them
onto a sticky end.
Sharks find it easy
sleek as burnished steel, they strip
the flesh from seals and dolphins,
pirouette away through water
smokey with their victims’ blood.
Why can’t I
head packed with words, pen poised
pick out a plump and juicy metaphor,
feed it fantasies until it bursts
into a poem ?