Stephen Duncan

Stephen Duncan

Stephen Duncan is a poet and sculptor with publications, public exhibitions and performance collaborations in the UK and Europe. He attended art schools and academies in London and Rome and has since worked with students of a wide range of disciplines and experience.

His work has been published in magazines and anthologies (including the Arts Council and PEN). Ghost-Walking (Smith/Doorstop Books) was a Book & Pamphlet Competiton winner.

Stephen has been awarded an Arts Council Writers Award by Peter Redgrove, has received prizes for his poetry in the Bridport, Arvon, Cardiff and Greenwich Competitions and is an Hawthornden Fellow.




 'Beautiful love poems and quirky tales, Ghost-Walking is a stunning poem and alone is worth the book for me… He doesn’t obviously strive for effect... [His poetry] seems to create itself, rising out of close observation, an unforced metaphor.’ — Chris Beckett, Poetry London

'humorous and sometimes alarming work' — Sean O'Brien

‘A continually exploring spirit whose gift is to offer the reader a tragic-comic vision of the life through the senses’ — Hugo Williams

‘[His poetry] has energy and rings true. Its language casts the spell poetry should. There’s not one false note. The writer has the patience and the trust to let poetry do what it must.’ — Gillian Clarke


Losing our way we have to stop
in the centre of a forest,
black pines against the midnight ink.
I switch off the engine,
listening in the silence for the coast
as the lights and radio die.

Climbing from sweat and seats
to stretch my cramp,
I walk into the shadows,
release myself deep into the trees,
the urine steam
lifting the menthol of sap.

Feeling my way back to the car,
I return for my small son
slumped forward in the seat-belt sling,
yoke my arms under his
and raise him from sleep,
as if to save him from drowning.

Resting his bare feet on the toes of my boots
I ghost-walk him along the track—
one silhouette inside another.
And as he leans forward against my arm
like the figurehead of a ship,

I undo his flies and whisper—
please pee now, it is so late,
you’re already too heavy for me—
and with the sleep-wriggle of his mouth
the surge of his flow
spreads through the forest.

This strange heritage in my arms,
his small cock
creates another flow into the unknown:
a man makes a man
to piss further into the dark.

I guide him back into his flies
and stagger as two puppets
back to the car,
flick his drops from my hand
and can hear now the sea.

Titles by this author

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