Guest Poem by Jennifer Johnson

Jennifer Johnson was born in the Sudan and has worked in Zambia. Her poetry has been published in various magazines and anthologies and her 2 collections are Footprints on Africa and beyond (Hearing Eye, 2005) and Hints and Shadows (Nettle Press, 2017). She was a Bread and Roses award winner in 2022.


So, you live in a magnificent duck house,
a five-foot Swedish home
complete with door, windows and roof,
floating on a rich man’s pond.

You kept that quiet, never mentioned it
any of the times you quacked with us
pretending you were no different.
You just hoped we’d never find out.

We did wonder, from time to time,
how it was you always looked so bright
after those icy, windy nights
killed what little warmth we had.

Unlike us, you could take shelter,
stay really cosy in winter.
That has made you different,
not like the rest of us at all.

I never used that duck house.
Why would I ever want to sleep
in a house for a little man?
Like you I prefer water or land.

Anyway, it’s up for auction now
to raise money for Macmillan.
Sir Peter Viggers, MP, had to resign
when ‘The Telegraph’ found out.

I’m so glad that silly house has gone.
Now the pond’s more natural,
more like it used to look.
I do hope the charity does well.

The thing is you were hoping
none of us would find out
as it would make you look bad.
What other secrets are you hiding?