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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, image copyright Mary Evans / Peter & Dawn Cope Collection



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.