Excavation – Ian Stuart


Curled on her side,
freed from the weight of earth,
her skull a creamy eggshell.
Ribs cage nothing, for the bird has flown
this eighteen hundred years and more.

I’m sorry that they dug her up,
picking at her bones
with toothbrushes, gushing into microphones.

Better to have left her,
snug in the packed dark, unknown
but suspected.
She could have whispered then,
hatched her thoughts within our skulls.

Bones are too explicit in the sunlight,
too easily explained. Leave her now.
Fill the pit.


Ian Stuart is a writer/storyteller in York, where he has lived for twenty years. His poetry has been published by Pennine Platform, Sarasvarti ,Mycor and Selwith Station. He had a collection  “Quantum Theory for Cats” published by Valley Press. https://oddlinessinspades.wordpress.com

Depressed Penguins Make Recovery – Ian Stuart

Depressed Penguins Make Recovery

We’re fine now. Thanks for asking.
White chests and black tail coats,
we look like waiters in some posh hotel.
Three times a day we go through our routine –
the comedy walk-on in perfect sync –
then dive in, one by one, and swim
to the ice floe
made out of cement
which never melts or grows.

They throw us chunks of frozen herring –
always the same but quite nutritious –
and laugh to see our antics.
Sometimes they clap their flippers in delight.
It is nice to be appreciated.

They’re very needful of our welfare.
Even the herring
has a special tang to it these days.

Yet even now, some nights,
huddled with others on a concrete floor
I still hear great bergs crash together
see distant sky shimmer,
feel the ice
sharp under my claws.

No, honestly. We’re fine.


Ian Stuart is a writer/performer in York. He has had work accepted by Dreamcatcher, Obsessed with Pipework, Selcouth Station and other poetry outlets.
Last October he had  “Quantum Theory for Cats” published by Valley Press in Scarborough – see link below.