Gerry Stewart – 2 poems

Red Herring



Pungent, vacant-eyed,

brined and dried,

rusty skin stretched to cracking,

you throw it onto my trail

to distract me from the truth.

I hesitate at your words

like a bloodhound confused

at which scent to follow.


The mystery, not musty or old,

of what lies beneath your mask

has taken up too many pages.

I cannot waste more time

deciding if I allowed the deception

or if I had a hand in creating it.


I choose to drop the chase,

but hear your feet pound away

into the murky branches.





A Dead Shark Isn’t Art



Inspired by a Wikipedia article on Damien Hirst’s art installation ‘The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living’



Four tiger sharks preserved

but still impossible.

Caught off Queensland, Australia,

the fishermen’s cut forgotten,

the sharks’ was not.


The first shark

was gutted and stretched,

displayed. Decayed.

Twelve million and change

caught in the vitrine of living memory.


The second a female,

‘middle-aged’ thrown in so casually,

as if her toothy smile

injected with formaldehyde,

soaked in 7% formalin solution,

was all part of her original intention.


The third shark earned

more than was expected,

but remains a mere footnote.


The fourth shark

wisnae there at aw,

guppy in a box.





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. In 2019 she won the ‘Selected or Neglected Collection Competition’ with Hedgehog Poetry Press for her collection Totems. Her writing blog can be found at and @grimalkingerry on Twitter.