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JUST THE TICKET (after Dylan

Rosie Johnston

Do not go reckless into love, my girl.

Beware of skilful charms at close of day.

Wrapped in romance, watch out for churls.


Wise women before you have hurled

their senses and their plans astray.

Do not go reckless into love, my girl.


Good wives, their patience drained, turned taciturn,

dream of silken beds and wild sea spray

wrapped in far romance, all flags unfurled.


Untamed, we weave our talents in high swirls,

learn too late the price such courage pays:

do not go reckless into love, my girl.


Old women know with private smiles down-turned

the female joys and burdens, all the ways

we wrap our secrets safe, count pleasures earned.


And you, young woman, sound advice all spurned,

your heart trussed up in lace and white bouquets –

may all be well in your new hopeful world

but treasure this, my gift: pre-paid return.

Rosie Johnston's four poetry books are published by Lapwing Publications (Belfast), most recently Six-Count Jive in 2019, with Off the Map due for publication in 2023. Her poems have appeared in The Phare, Snakeskin, London Grip, Culture NI, The Honest Ulsterman, Mary Evans Picture Library’s Poems and Pictures blog, Words for the Wild. Her poetry is anthologised by Live Canon, Arlen House, OneWorld’s Places of Poetry anthology, Fevers of the Mind and American Writers Review.

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