Steve Armstrong – What’s Left

Hi fellow Flying Islanders

I’m thrilled to have joined your ranks; my pocket book What’s Left was launched December 2020. 

I’m a poet living in Newcastle, who works as social worker/counsellor when I’m not writing.

Dimitra Harvey, poet and editor of Mascara Literary Review launched What’s Left at the Poet’s Picnic in Markwell, and said in conclusion-

For me, Steve’s poetry attends to what Burnside describes as ‘a new science of belonging’ — one that, in his words, puts us ‘back in the open’, seeks ‘to make us both vulnerable and wondrous again — to reconnect us’ with the earth. What’s Lef is charged with that ecological imperative to dwell in and with the rest of the world in a new way.”
This poem Lizards the is taken from the collection.


The fetor strikes me first,
and then I find them, a pair of shingle-backs
with armoured scales of polished brown.
They lie close together by the sandy track
that takes me along the high-line of a dry lake.

The smaller of the two is dead.
Mobbing flies and his sinking, say to me,
they’ve spent some time like this.

She’s unflinching.
I stop to wonder how long a novice widow
might keep her vigil. Maybe she’ll go
when he’s lost all resemblance to the one she knew,
or when hunger foreshadows her own decease.
I can imagine a crow might drive her off.

My reductive eye—its blinkered flash—
sees only instinct here.
Even though a pared-back vision is not without
its place,
I’ve feelings for this cold-blooded

They lived alone much of the year,
then each season, still enchanted—imprints held
in memory—they’d meet up again.
How will she live with what was and is no longer?

I stand by them and the last of the evening
light falls into bed,
true as the lake flats.