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Stephen Boyce: a poem


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:

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