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The Sisyphus Dog

The Sisyphus Dog

"Stephen Boyce's poems move from description towards insight in such a way that the ordinary becomes the insight. The writing patiently and accurately traces an act of watching or remembering something until it fills with meanings it did not previously seem to have." 

John Haynes

"Marking the Place provides an increasingly subtle take on the marks we make in life... This section shifts to a deceptively simple clarity and plain diction, where the landscape becomes the page on which we write and our lives the marks we make."

Belinda Cooke, The North

"Written with considerable poetic skill and emotional warmth, his perceptive cameos of lives, nature and art are finely-tuned."

Robyn Bolam

Published: 10 February 2014 by Worple Press
ISBN: 978 1 905208 23 4 
Pages: 79 Softback
Price: £10.00 +p&p

The Sisyphus Dog : cover image by Alice Kettle, photography by Joe Low

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"Very gracefully written, full of well-crafted poems."

MIke Loveday

Vows, late Summer

for J and S


When the room falls silent I’ll sit with you

and remind you how, like bonsai masters,

we planted on rock – ishi seki – 

anchoring the roots of our slant tree

with its soft cumulus of leaves,

its col of moss and bark.


When darkness comes knocking I’ll help you

read the patterns of our love;

how like the spirals of shells,

cones and seed-heads they are:

mathematical and improbable, 

beautiful and enduring.


And if we falter I’ll take you where

the ladder-maker splits chestnut limbs

and joins the matching halves

with rungs wider at the base

than at the apex, the whole apparatus

flexing as we climb,


and I’ll show you how the view from the roof

is always of a garden, its borders 

like a summer dress thrown off, 

with a gate, open, into the orchard beyond.


Spotting Red


Pointing to The Haywain, my father said:

“you see how he uses a dab of red 

to lead the eye into the landscape.”


Since then I see in every canvas 

small touches of scarlet or vermillion – 

poppies in a distant field, medal ribbon;


‘A’ roads in the atlas; shades of brick,

flame or cherry; the sticky swalk 

of lip-print on the flap of an envelope,


the dot beside a work of art that marks

it sold, a goldfinch with his bloodied cheek, 

the frayed handkerchief in which I wrap 


small curiosities from the beach for you, 

and – once or twice, it’s true – the signs of loss,

of life and of life’s possibilities.

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