Telling the beads



Between the wanting and the wishing,

And the fist curling tight,

Is the quenching of the dream.

The cruise ship and the beach parties roll on into the dark,

With the heat and spilled wine,

The laughter with forgotten friends.

Was it in Tenerife?

What was it was had for dinner then?

We should have bought the blue one not the red.

And the stars were the same as ever,

And his hand next to yours,

And the jokes were ones you’d heard before,

So you cast about, among the silk scarves and white doves,

For another dream,

Another windmill flailing useless arms.

The night comes to us all,

Though the string of our bright beads is not enough to light the way,

While in the belly grows the griping fear

That for us there is no pier,

No green light, nor even a red,

Only desires plucked from a catalogue,

To hold beneath the hand,

To hold tight and high, to admire in the sun

And pretend we have not crushed their fragile wings,

And they will never ever fly.


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.

9 thoughts on “Telling the beads”

  1. Not possible that with every poem you write I just love more and more. Going to invent a new language to describe how your work makes me feel. ALL OF THIS but those two opening lines … good grief you’re good and I say this from the top of a roof with a bull horn, not vapidly typing at computer. YOU ARE SO GOOD! These right here : Between the wanting and the wishing,

    And the fist curling tight,

    Is the quenching of the dream.

      1. I didn’t used to re-write until I read that Sylvia Plath (whom I don’t overly like but …) would never ever throw something away, believing it had value and would re-work until it did. I decided for the sake of learning/growing/discipline I would try to do this and I have had positive results (with a FEW horrors that couldn’t change if I cast a spell on them!!!!)

      2. I think everyone does! Perfection makes me sick to my stomach it’s the flaws in a person that are often their most likable traits as they add humor

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