Poetry challenge #49: Painful silence

Yesterday was a migraine day. It hasn’t gone entirely so screen work is still slow and difficult. Pain in the head makes it hard to think straight and it distorts thought and vision. The poems that form when we are in a state of tension or pain are different to those that spring from a more placid, stable frame of mind.

The Daily Post prompt for yesterday was silence, a very tempting one when the inside of your head is a mass of jangling nerves, but also one that seems impossibly elusive. The poem below is the first ‘silence’ poem I jotted down. I don’t suppose this is an original form and there’s probably a name for it, but is seemed like enough of a challenge to me yesterday. You can try one out if you like. I think you need at least three stanzas of three lines each using the rhyme scheme:

abb acc add aee

This week’s challenge is to write a poem about pain, physical and emotional. We’ve all suffered pain of one sort or another and it could be a productive exercise to channel the emotions generated by pain into a poem and create something beautiful from it.

Same rules, post the link to your poem in the comments box before next Tuesday, and please don’t let the theme get you down ๐Ÿ™‚

Suggested words to think about, not necessarily use

Silence, raucous, pulse, haven, lethargic, silver

The image is entitled ‘Deep dream, white noise’.



No silence in the city,

No soft pools of darkness between the lights,

No infinite velvet in the nights.


No compassion and no pity,

Where cold shadows fill with ragged lives,

And the night wind is sharp as knives.


Close your eyes, the darkโ€™s duplicity

Winks with ceaseless, flashing pain,

Mocking laughter in the rain.


To dream of lifeโ€™s simplicity,

Of gentle swell on oceans deep,

Is all a lie when there is no sleep.

Published by

Jane Dougherty

I used to do lots of things I didn't much enjoy. Now I am officially a writer. It's what I always wanted to be.

56 thoughts on “Poetry challenge #49: Painful silence”

    1. We’d probably never be able to agree on the music ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s a slightly different challenge, digging beneath the superficial, but you do that anyway so there’ll be no problems there ๐Ÿ˜‰

  1. I’m surprised you can work at all with a migraine–and produce poems.
    As well as the pain in your head, I pictured the people you’ve talked about in the past, living on the streets.

    1. Thanks Kim ๐Ÿ™‚ The worst thing about the migraine is that I have to keep off the computer. It’s hard to stay away when I’m revising something I’ve really got my teeth into. Your poem is a beauty, and I’m pleased you had a go at the form, whatever its name is ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Wow! I don’t know how you can do tbat, make something so beautiful out of your pain and suffering. I used to get migraines in my youth, and all I was capable of was curling into the foetal position and feeling sorry for myself. This poem is beautiful and slow annd melodic, with breath taking imagery. Maybe we do our best work when we suffer, like the starving artist in his garret.

    1. I used to be like that with migraines but they respond very well to the new drugs so usually they don’t last more than a day. What I hate most about them is the way they seem to take me out of the real world and dump me in this awful parallel place where everything is distorted. That’s maybe what produces poetryโ€”the off-kilter perspectives.

  3. Ah, your fourth stanza resonates with me. Everything loses its luster when I have no sleep.

    I wanted to write a response but somehow, I could not write about (my) pain. I guess, life was quite busy the last week that I could not focus well enough. ๐Ÿ™‚

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