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A Change of Attitude; Mouth by Stephen Leach

A Change of Attitude


I took my kindness to the river and held it under:

Felt the flesh of its neck beneath my fingers

As it expired, felt its fists beat against my arm

But held fast, as the ice-cold current surged.

No regrets: it had needed doing. I’d laboured long enough:

Birthed it fat, white, and howling

A thankless gobbling child who grew too big,

Split every pair of shoes I bought it.

A relief, then, to see it go –

It had been getting to be a burden.

I took my kindness to the river and held it under:

I still remember how it squalled.


No regrets: I’m glad of the reminder

To do things differently now.



Every pretty mouth has teeth

Guarding a soft-spoken tongue.

A honeyed tone hides bile beneath

Like harsh notes in a pleasing song.

Some lips are split by falsehoods;

Teeth crack and stain, they lose their shine.

Gums soon corrode; they seep dark blood

A charming voice fades to a whine.

Of all the powers known and vast

Words are oft more than they appear.

No stinging barb was ever cast

By some malicious nose or ear.

A gentle force: fine words deceive

By way of cunning diction.

Untruthful utterances weave

The strangest shams and fictions.

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