Stephen Boyce: a poem



Heliotrope

I read somewhere that the light-emitting child

is a known phenomenon.

Her luminous face astonishes like birdsong

in a desert, evokes an elsewhere

of shorelines and forests, of distances travelled.

As I recall it now, the baby was lying on her back

looking up into a shaft of sunlight,

turning her face as a flower will.

Or did that beam shine from her eyes to yours?

I witnessed light fill the room – that much I know –

a glow of effusion and reflection

as what had passed between us settled in her gaze.

How is it such things occur?

Events that connect two worlds – unexpectedly –

in the rare illumination of memory, experience, desire.

How can it be otherwise,

when the good we see we are drawn towards?

And how can it be denied

that a child is a source of almost unbearable light?


Stephen Boyce lives in north Dorset. He is the author of three poetry collections, Desire Lines (Arrowhead 2010), The Sisyphus Dog (Worple 2014) and The Blue Tree (Indigo Dreams 2019), and of three poetry pamphlets. Stephen is co-founder of Winchester Poetry Festival. You can find him here: www.stephenboycepoetry.com.