Two poems by Stephen Boyce

 
Marking the Place
 
The red route of the A5 lies across
the pages of our life like a silk ribbon
marking the place: Betws,

honeymoon rained off; Wrexham
snowed in, out of work, in love,
you fixing the roof at Llanarmon;

Bridgnorth, changing nappies in a lay-by;
the chiropractor cracking bones
in Shrewsbury. Returning again by

road across these hills – soft rain
in summer, moonlit frost in winter.
The ribbon’s faded now, the end frayed.

I ease it gently from the leaves:
Criccieth, November,
stalking dippers on the river.
 
(from The Sisyphus Dog , Worple 2014)
 
 
Worlds Apart

I dig a round hole
and plant a tree.

You dig a square hole
and bury a child.

I fill my hole with scoops of loam,
tamp it with my heel
and water the soil.

You fill your hole with coffin wood,
handfuls of red clay
and mother’s tears.

My tree bursts into life.
Your child lies still.

I watch the cut worm flail
before it heals.

You’ve never seen a worm
and have no word for healing.

(from The Sisyphus Dog , Worple 2014)
 
 
Stephen Boyce is the author of two collections, Desire Lines (Arrowhead 2010) and
The Sisyphus Dog (Worple 2014). He lives in Winchester and is a trustee of Winchester
Poetry Festival. Twitter @boyce_stephen