Where stars unstick and fall

Another illustration from the book, ‘The Story of the Sun, the Moon and the Stars’ inspired this cascade poem. My eyes are still full of the night sky of the countryside, so full of stars there’s hardly any darkness.


To go where stars unstick and fall,

And catch a fragment in the hand,

Star horses in celestial fields.


Into the night without a light,

I swoop and soar a rocket ship,

To go where stars unstick and fall.


My dearest wish to catch the tails,

Of comets shooting through the void

And catch a fragment in the hand.


Burning bright, the sky’s alight,

With falling stars of splendid dreams,

Star horses in celestial fields.

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.

34 thoughts on “Where stars unstick and fall”

  1. Jane. It would be a huge understatement to say, I adore your poetry, you are one of my very, very favorite poets and this is no small feat as I read a great deal of poetry but you literally have magic in the placement of your words and I mean that knowing compliments on WP are so facile, usually slightly insincere and I mean this with every atom of my being. These lines blew me away;
    To go where stars unstick and fall,

    And catch a fragment in the hand,

    Star horses in celestial fields.

    1. That’s a wonderful compliment! I’m overwhelmed. Really. But I’m not sure that there isn’t a hefty dose of serendipity in what I write. A poem often starts when I let my mind wander and snatch words and images out of the blue, a combination of words that sometimes isn’t even apposite. I don’t know what the mechanism is—creativity of a sort, but using the luck of the deal to build a poem. Yeats has always been my favourite poet and his images are what transport me. In a very cack-handed way, I try to tap into the same vein.

      1. Sometimes I try futilely to prove that I mean something and am not just ‘saying it’ like so much of the world. It is harmful that people perpetuate empty compliments, throw out ‘I love this’ too easily…. then when you REALLY love something it sounds like all the rest so I wish I could say something that really expressed how much I thought of this poem and your work. It is exquisite, that’s the word I’d want to have said of my best work so I use it here, because truly it is Jane, terrific and no wonder, I could never understand Yeats enough to appreciate him fully (my error not his) so the fact you do shows the depth to which your mind turns xo

      2. I don’t understand all of Yeats’ images, but it doesn’t matter. It’s the sound of the words that counts for me. I don’t doubt you mean the compliment sincerely. That’s why I feel so overwhelmed by it! I don’t bandy compliments about idly either. It serves no purpose unless you really enjoy being a sycophant. It’s something I’ve noticed reading lots of blogs, the back-slapping that goes on. Maybe it is sincere praise from not very discriminating readers, but it might also be part of the I say something nice about you, now you say something nice about me syndrome. Know your praiser, I say, and praise coming from you is humbling.

      3. Exactly. Like the phrase ‘know your praiser’ and agree. Glad you know I mean what I say as felt so powerfully the need to tell you how good that and many of your other poems are, just very, very delighted to read them hence the nag 😉 I think many times women especially say lovely things of others, but they mean it as leverage and men also – if they are attracted to the woman. We lose meaning in our over use of it. Hence why not bandying about compliments helps form a more genuine person. I’m guilty of trying to encourage quite a bit as I was not as a child so I over-compensate but it’s a genuine desire to lift others up, though it only goes so far and is more in a teaching capacity. Not that I’m teaching them how to write, but encouragment teaching is what I mean by that. You are right, you can understand the images or sound, like I do with Blake whom I really do not always understand at all and yet, love the sound. The more obvious of his work is very easy but the Heaven and Hell portions I liked for sound not sense. Your writing inspires me to keep trying and striving for the kind of feeling you give me with your work – you’re truly talented and there are so many who write these days, almost everyone it seems but to find a really true talent, is still rare I believe if the books I plow through are anything to go by I always come back to the classic forms and you write in that way I think.

      4. Writing in what you very kindly refer to as a ‘classic’ form is proving very difficult to sell. Which doesn’t mean I’m going to start using a mid-Atlantic shorthand form just because that’s what does appeal (apparently) to the majority.
        You’re right about the reasons behind compliments, often to please or to give confidence. I hope I’m not guilty of egging the pudding, as a lot of us do.
        Some of Blake’s visionary poetry is truly out there, fun but it doesn’t appeal to me as much as his simpler, more accessible poetry.

      5. That made me laugh so much as it reminded me of my attempt as writing in ‘old North’ after reading Game of Thrones and how much fun I had doing the dialect and the language. Of course nobody could understand a word of it but … so yes it seems there is a wide cavern between those ‘proper’ writers and then the trash-read type which can be worthy in other ways. You are in the former, but classic is often underappreciated in favor of ‘trendy’ which makes me want to gag. Then again, Hilary Mantel just won the Booker TWICE for quite classic writing so it CAN BE DONE AND YOU WILL SUCCEED

      6. You won’t believe the perversity of this, but being very poor, I have only read Game of Thrones from library copies—in French! I did dip into one of them in a bookshop in the original and decided I preferred the French version. So I can’t say I ever read GRRs version of Oop North dialect. Not sure I’d like it somehow. If I was as good a writer as Mantel, I’d really be furious at getting nowhere 🙂

      7. See and I prefer your writing to Mantel, sure she’s prodigious and knows her history, brings it to life, but I think your writing is more compelling. She can be rather flat. No it wasn’t Game of Thrones with the dialect, it was something else, (marlow?) I have read all of Game of Thrones, the books being a million times the tv show, feel sad that most people only know the show, as the books are really well written I think. Oh I should read one in French! I didn’t think of that! I got my copies all tattered and banged from a 2nd hand bookstore for 50 cents so I’m with you sister! Oh and speaking of bargains I bought a beautiful antique white dress on ebay for $5 the other day, who needs money? 😉 Seriously though it’s about timing I reckon as far as success, the market and timing. And selling I suppose your strongest features. With this in mind you have many avenues to explore, and I do believe your children’s books will garner success. I meant to ask you I was going to get out in library then realized I’d rather purchase to support you but what is most profitable to you by way of purchasing? I know if someone buys direct from me I make more than via Amazon or B&N or a third-party bookstore obviously so can you let me know best way to buy your books where you earn the most from it? Us writers must support one another.

      8. I keep meaning to read Mantel but never get round to it. Husband got himself a copy of the one about the French Revolution. It’s his period almost. He got about half way through and decided he’d changed his mind about it. Having started off engrossed, he became more detached as the historical mechanics of the plot took over and he realised he didn’t give a flying fuck about the characters anymore.
        Long live ebay and flea markets. Sunday morning stopped being church decades ago—it’s flea market morning.
        As for the books, I only ever put them on Amazon. I hate the techy aspect of self-publishing and really got my knickers in a twist over the paperback covers and just threw in the towel. I’d send you a copy of The Dark Citadel but I know you’d refuse. It’s only 99c anyway and it’s the properly formatted kindle version whereas mine is a homemade version done by Calibre. The Green Woman series is quite different to the Pathfinders, which is YA and not ashamed of it. It’s more my style, so you might like it better.

      9. No I want to buy it and support you – though I am grateful – so LMK how is best to obtain all of them. Ah I have read three Mantel. to be honest out of curiosity more than anything, though this prize giving lark is so sickening really as it’s rarely a reflection of true talent. I cannot recall the last time a Booker was someone whose work I thought was not politically motivated. Same can be said for that damn UK art prize, the Turner. When they awarded that guy for making a ‘shed’ then dismantling it, making a boat out of it, sailing across and re-assembling the shed, I thought ‘ok’ tentatively, then they gave someone a prize for ‘light switch’ which yes, was a light being turned on and off. AT that point I tried manual strangulation 😉

      10. I know what you mean. There’s art that needs explanation to get the most out of it, and there’s…light switches and dead sheep in formaldehyde.
        Do you have an e reader? I ask because I never got around to making a paperback version of the third volume of The Green Woman.

      11. Now therein lies the rub. I do not. I know it’s luddite of me but I decided to avoid digital reading of any kind aside online like here. I realize that’s hard, can I download a reader maybe on my laptop?

      12. and you succeed in tapping into that vein SO well I don’t think you see it because if you did you’d focus on writing that book of poetry that I shall nag you about until we both give up and you do it 😉

      13. Okay DEAL and I humbly offer myself to help in any way you may wish/need and would be honored to help you because I believe this is a necessary next step. (Very happy).

      14. I will very likely hold you to that because I haven’t a clue about formatting and presenting poetry, and not much more about how you go about deciding on a collection.

      15. I’m not as talented as you at other things but one thing left over from working for the US Embassy in London as Editor is I’m good at the above and would be honored to help – and truly think I can. the worst that can happen is you fire me and get someone else! And the best part is I’m affordable because I work for chocolate buttons and friendship 🙂 So it’s a double-deal.

      16. I’m going to keep on at you, there are reasons for everything, for our talking, for everything, and so if my place is helping you achieve what you should achieve by way of your poetry then I will have done a very good thing indeed. Now I feel quite excited by this.

      17. That made me laugh. If you mean it, don’t be, you have someone of your tribe lifting you high. If you don’t mean it, well you always leave me smiling my friend.

      18. We do it when you are ready. NOT before. Okay? That way all will be well and in its right time.

  2. I love the image of catching the stars–and of course, you know I love the star horses. I imagine them galloping to the sound of the humming moon. 🙂
    Honestly, this is beautiful, Jane.

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