My hands are full

Photo ©Saracin76


My hands are full of duties,

of begrudged obligations,

so full they cannot hold the grains of sand,

sea-washed and dredged from the deeps,

that trickle one by one to be lost in the vast sea.

My ears are full of voices,

the cacophonous cries of laughter and sorrow,

of people I will never know,

so full I cannot hear the slender sound,

the rich and rippling song of the bird

that wakes me singing in the tree,

then flies with the first light,

while I am still befuddled with sleep.

My heart is full of cares,

my own, and my own, and still my own,

for the cares of others cannot come near,

my hands too full to hold and embrace,

my ears too full to listen to the breathless story,

and in my heart, a jagged wilderness of broken dreams.

Would that

I could

open my hands to catch the wind

that carries the song

that lingers behind the flight of the bird

across the billows of my heart

and stoop to find amid the silver grains

a shiny fragment that will still do.



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.

12 thoughts on “My hands are full”

  1. This is beautiful 🙂 Part of me would like to see some of the lines shortened a bit, but I have a real and serious issue with quite truncated lines; I think your lineation in this is really strong! And I loved the line “the rich and rippling song of the bird”. Perfect description. Rippling is an apt word to describe birdsong 🙂

    1. Thank you! I usually try to keep a rhythm to the lines, but let this one go with the length of the thoughts. It’s a change from my usual style. I’m glad you think it works 🙂

  2. If you were not my friend I would loathe you for your talent. (Kidding). This in particular. I absolutely loved this. I read and re-read four times, still I wanted to again. It’s got an addictive quality as all your writing does but this one especially. Oh this is fine, this is as fine as the classics we hunger over and wish we had written. Well it seems my friend, you have. This should be published everywhere, women around the world will relate to this, the increasingly complex life, the longing, the fullness (not in a good way) and the wishes for things you’ll not have because you have so many other distractions. It is a poem of voices. You have ghosts, future and past, and the murmers of the sleeper and the dreamer in this one. It’s like you brought the entire world to their feet in one poem. I envy this deeply it is truly a magnificent piece my friend well done!

    1. Thanks so much (is it Candice?). This one just came. There was a twitter prompt, ‘hand fulls’ and this is what happened. We are always taken up by things we don’t really want, and it makes us terribly selfish of the bits of time we do have for ourselves. I don’t know what the answer is except to have dreams and if we can’t live them, never lose sight of them.

      1. Agreed. If we are born with dreams there must be a reason. Those who lose sight of them stop living to a greater extent, they are the shells without substance who simply endure rather than live. At times I think I have headed that way because I was jaded but you are so right, we must avoid it, and never lose sight, if we are to have any appreciation and happiness in this world. Wise words my friend. You are right, we are selfish over the time we have for ourselves, having no children I have more time technically than you do and I am always impressed how much you accomplish, but either way there is still a need for more time if only in a figurative sense. I for one find the restorative healing powers of a hot bath work miracles, and if you can believe, American’s hate baths and always shower! (shudder)

      2. I can’t believe you could ever think of yourself as a ‘shell’! You observe and translate too much and too well. If you can make eye contact with a sparrow in a park, or watch the leaves falling or the cherry blossom in spring, you’ve lived something special. Sounds corny but that’s what I believe. All those tiny details are what make up a life. I have to say that, not doing anything monumentally important myself 🙂

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