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.

Lizards

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
couple.

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.

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