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Image by Jr Korpa

Language Learning

For D.

We pull the sun and rain into a noisy classroom,
sifting words for a connection you can draw.

I label your snowflake in English,
your Korean slashes grow with your confidence,
clouds, storms, a whirlwind filling the room.

You fight to remain in black and white,
juggling the rules, the boundaries,
but Finland, this school is muddied winter-gray.

Your frustration shreds worksheets,
breaks pencils and kicks chairs,
voicing what will not translate.

We define progress with sentences, marbles,
ticks and blanks, but it’s uncountable,
a drip-splashing collection
of days and lessons.

I sketch for you a bucket
as if it is enough to carry my meaning.

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. Totems is to be published by Hedgehog Poetry Press in 2021. Her writing blog can be found at and @grimalkingerry on Twitter.


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