Carnlough Bay by Rosie Johnston




Rosie Johnston’s four poetry books, published by Lapwing Publications in Belfast, are Sweet Seventeens (2010), Orion (2012), Bittersweet Seventeens (2014) and Six-Count Jive – new and selected 17-syllable stanzas (2019). Her poems have appeared or featured in London Grip, Culture NI, FourxFour, The Honest Ulsterman, Ink, Sweat & Tears, Hedgerow, on the Mary Evans Picture Library’s Poems and Pictures blog and in Live Canon’s anthologies ‘154: In Response to Shakespeare’s Sonnets (2016) & ‘New Poems for Christmas (2018). She has read her poetry widely and between 2014 and 2018 was poet in residence for the Cambridgeshire Wildlife Trust, until she moved to live by the sea in Kent.





















Carnlough Bay




Earth is tawny

corduroy tonight, and burnt

blood clods. Charolais cows, peach

white going on amber, slant their paintbrush lashes

at the limestone cliffs.


Sunset’s gold-spill gets me every time.


Come on, I’ll take your hand, let’s run like oyster-catchers

along the line between water and earth, make the

biggest splashes in the tiniest waves, relish

edges between land and

sea and us and air.

Here, where

no people


I breathe. Expand again, at last, to my full size. I’m

tallest in bare feet, on sea-rolled shingle, back

heavy in my heels, cupping the weight of

whelk shells in my pockets.

Constant in it all, so

many years, the

need of



Rosie Johnston


Seasalter by Rosie Johnston