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Stoat with dead bird. Artist: Thomas Bewick. 

circa 1790s
Stoat With Dead Bird


after an engraving by Thomas Bewick


The stoat needles through bracken,

the thrush slams a snail on a stone.

There is no space to intervene

and I don’t want to. I love the thrush,

the stone, the snail, and I love the stoat,

her spring of muscle, her pointed jaw –

a complete story, without heroes.


I want to be one of them though I know

bitter fear and hunger would pall.

My eyes sting from pills with side-effects,

fennel salads; I’m worn out making tea

and readying towels. I’m the thrush,

finally released – or I’m the stoat,

mouth full of flight and copper.



© Rosamund Taylor

Picture 12480749, engraving by Thomas Bewick, circa 1790s



Rosamund Taylor won the Mairtin Crawford Award for poetry at the Belfast Book Festival in 2017, and has been nominated for a Forward Prize for best single poem. Her work has recently appeared in Agenda, Banshee, Magma, Poetry Ireland Review and on LambdaLiterary.Org.