I have walked among fighting dogs
and lions to get where I am.
I have consorted with herons,
with pelicans. I am speaking
with my most assured voice.
Please listen. If I appear conflicted
blame the dogs and lions,
the vultures on gate posts.
Give me time. I will spit it out.
I will explain why I speak mostly
about how I got here and what
it will all be like when I'm gone.
This is, I assure you, my most
assured voice. Never mind the dogs
and their teeth or the breath
of the lions. I do not fear them.
It's the moment I fear, the now
I am walking into, not the dogs,
not the bone-picking vultures.
I want to sleep like a crane
tucked up over one straight leg.
I want to dream like a crane,
one foot standing in water,
the silent almost still water.
I've picked my way among vultures
to get where I am. Listen.
I'm getting there, finding the words,
though they fade in and out like stars.
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.