Poetry - Ian Stuart's 'Picking Pears' & 'Making the Fire'

Picking pears

Like people, pears will ripen from inside. Picked too early, you will find they’re hard, unyielding. Leave it late and there’ll be nothing left but wasp drilled carcasses and mush.

Choose the moment.

A cool September evening seems right- shifting sunlight and the pears

jade green and flecked with raindrops.

Cup one in your hand and twist - you’ll hear a click - the branch flicks back - you feel the full weight in your palm.

Like people, pears bruise easily. Don’t crowd the. Half a dozen in each bowl is company enough.

Leave them for a day or two to ripen in the sun then take a bite - taste the gush of scented juice upon your tongue - that flesh as sweet as summer, white as snow.

Making the fire

Each morning I’d get up and make the fire –

a pocket-money job , and yet one I enjoyed. The house was still and cold. A thin, insipid light seeped through the blinds. I riddled last night’s embers , watched the ash float down in feathers to the tray below. I’d put that out later.

Time to build.

A cube of firelighter, waxy, white as compressed snow,then scrumpled newspaper and kindling twigs to give a solid base. I’d take some shiny nuts of coal and place them gingerly on the makeshift pyre.

Then light a match.

Six decades later I can hear the hiss and bubble of the twigs, the crackling coal, see flames, like flowers bursting into bloom, as crocus light spills out into the room.

Ian Stuart is a writer-performer living in York. Her has had work published in a number of outlets including Dream Catcher, Obsessed with PipeWork and Ink Sweat and Tears. His collection Quantum Theory for Cats was published by Valley Press in Dec 2017. He lives inn a small burrow outside the city with his wife, a small dog, and two cats. Strangely, he collects fountain pens.