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Between rice bowls and candlelight

stretch moments

of perfect contentment.


Laughter waltzes with garlic prawns,

jives with olives,

pirouettes with wine.


Among tall rococo willow


bats flit a bold fandango.


Atom by atom past

suffering melts

in relentless gentleness.


Gravid time. Still air. A drop


from a leaf. A wish unspoken.


Goldfinch at their morning tasks

Sing willow songs

Of sunlit miracles.


Three cabbage whites, two dragonflies,

one thrush

distinguishing silences.


A baby toad, her thumbnail size,

its thumb

a perfect pinpoint marvel.


Moorchicks sprint along new

lily pads

playing at flight with stumpy wings.


And here’s a moorcock mate, green

claws spread

poised, slow to the ground. Balletic.


Light as a hop, soft as a

tune hummed

through a smile, warm as new laid eggs.


Such lightness, buoyancy, this


smiling warmth: could she be happy?



© Rosie Johnston
Picture 10505257, woodblock print, ink on paper, attributed to Ohara Koson, image copyright Mary Evans / Ashmolean Museum



Rosie Johnston’s three poetry books, published by Lapwing Publications in Belfast, are Sweet Seventeens (2010), Orion (2012) and Bittersweet Seventeens (2014). Her poems have appeared or featured in Ink, Sweat & Tears, Hedgerow, London Grip, Culture NI, FourxFour and The Honest Ulsterman. She was commissioned to take part in Live Canon’s 154 Project (2016) celebrating Shakespeare’s 400th anniversary and has been poet in residence for the Cambridgeshire Wildlife Trust since 2014. She also reviews poetry for London Grip.  @RosieJpoet