The Settlement-Chris Boyland

The Settlement

I’d borrowed some of your words –

‘wrong’, ‘useless’, ‘stupid’, ‘useless’

(seem to have two of those – dunno –

maybe one’s a hand-me-down from

your Mum.)

You can have them back now – I’ve

finished with them – frankly, I only

took them to try and understand why

you liked them so much, why you

were always using them, but – nah,

they’re not for me. Don’t need them

anymore, not sure I ever did.

I stole some of your words – ‘pride’,

‘dignity’, ‘self-respect’ (as in, ‘have

some’ – as in, ‘show some’) – you know,

the good words, the ones I wasn’t allowed

to use coz I wouldn’t know how to work

them properly – coz I’d get them dirty –

coz I’d mess them up. I’m keeping these.

And I found some of our words, ones

I’ve not seen or used for ages – ones

I’d forgotten we had – ‘peace’, ‘hope’,

‘quiet’, ‘happy’. They’d been put in a

box, left to gather dust. I’ve taken them

out, polished them up – I’ll get a lot more

use out of them now, than we ever did.

About the contributor

Chris Boyland is a prize-winning poet who lives and works in Glasgow. His poems have been published in magazines and journals such as: [Untitled], The Poets’ Republic, 404Ink, Northwords Now, and anthologies such as  Aiblins: New Scottish Political Poetry and the New Voices Press 2018 anthology. He has performed at spoken word nights across Central Scotland and blogs occasionally at

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