#writephoto microfiction: The tides of the night

This is for Sue Vincent’s #writephoto challenge. It started off as a poem and I rewrote it as a piece of prose, a sort of prose poem. I might try again and write something more story-like.


Purple the sky that quenches the sun, violet the cloudy horizon, and midnight is blue as a deep, dark well. I watch the fire that dies in the west, the night that falls harder than winter, and I long for a star to follow, for someone to guide my steps onward. But the valley echoes bronze bell-hollow, and the sedge bends beneath unseen steps. In the well of the world, the moon swims, a fish, round as a cheese, pale as death waiting like me, for the rising tide.

Purple the sky that rains cold tears, and I hide my face from its sorrow. But still I see the violet light of tomorrow’s illusions flicker and skim the dark well, a mirror, reflecting your face. Moon rises, flooding the world, and the great pale fish flicks its tail at the stars. On the mountain, I see through the snow—or is it the silver moonlight?—wolf tracks leading north. Something beckons, the wild red savagery of life, perhaps, and I feel the threads of my heart breaking. I will follow the wolf and the stars that shine behind the cloud that masks the sky, though you call and haul at the broken net.

Beyond the midnight sea is morning. Beyond the mocking mirror is a sky aflutter with white wings, rippling with the dance of the moonfish. You snapped my heart strings when you plucked them with the wrong music, and the purple and the violet, the colours of death, I shed like the rose sheds the dew on a windy autumn morning.



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.

25 thoughts on “#writephoto microfiction: The tides of the night”

    1. I’m glad you like the result 🙂 I’ve had a sequence of migraines, troubled also by the anniversary of the deaths of both my parents. The brain does funny things with words sometimes.

      1. I read the loving piece you wrote in honour of your mother. Such anniversaries are hard. This year was 25 years for my dad, and it was particularly rough. I find myself missing him more than usual so I understand how it makes the heart heavy.

      2. It was 24 for my dad. He was twenty years older than my mother, but she only managed another ten years without him. It’s good that we still miss them. It keeps them alive and close.

      3. My dad died at 64. My mother’s spirit died with him. Her body went on for almost another 20 years, of which I was her caregiver off and on, then mostly on from 2004/5. It was 6 years in April since her death, one day after her 83rd birthday. I wasn’t with my dad when he suddenly and unexpectedly died from an aneurism, but I was with my mother when she passed.

      4. That’s the hardest part of life, it must be, living on after the one you love most has died. Hard for you too to see her failing. My mother’s father died when he was 56 and my grandmother went from one nervous breakdown to another for the next ten years. She lived for another thirty years after him, losing all her faith in God and religion and just waiting for the day when she felt she was no longer any use to anyone. When that day came, she wrote a farewell letter to each of her children and grandchildren, went to bed and never woke again. I’ve met few women as strong-willed as she was. My mother turned out similar. I hope I do too.

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