Into the dark we go

I’ve been away, back for Samhain for a family chat about the ones gone before.


Into the dark we go, we go,

Till shadows fall before the light,

And we leave all our pain behind.


Red sunset frames an open door,

Hands reach out to beckon us home,

Into the dark we go, we go.


The path it turns, the sea rides high,

With fear of leaving in our hearts,

Till shadows fall before the light.


Meadows sweep beyond the door,

Blue horses run, love in their stride,

And we leave all our pain behind.


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.

39 thoughts on “Into the dark we go”

      1. Me too. Tomorrow is an anniversary of a death in my family which always makes the whole All Hallows/ Day of the Dead thing very real for me. I’m so glad to have seen your poem tonight!

      2. Both my parents died a few days before Samhain and I think if I didn’t have a joyful idea of what death means, and went in for the more lugubrious Christian message, it would be a pretty miserable time.

      3. I like the Mexican idea of having a graveside party to honour your ancestors. I don’t know much about the tradition of Samhain, perhaps I should explore it.

      4. Samhain is more about the idea of death as a continuation of life but with the hard bits taken out. The ancient Celts seem not to have gone into fantasy land for their idea of paradise, preferring to keep the old life but without the hardships. On one night of the year, at the end of the old year and the start of the new, they believed that the door between the two worlds was open and the dead could come back to say hello, catch up on the gossip and check up on family. There wasn’t anything creepy about it, it was just a way of keeping up the contact. I don’t know how much of an overlap there is with the Mexican Catholic and pre-Christian traditions of Dead Day. It always looks pretty grisly to me with all those skeletons and grim reapers.

      5. No you are quite wrong Jane the Christian message is one of hope that is uplifting , ‘In my Fathers house there are many mansions.’
        Your poem touches many a chord in the human heart .

      6. There’s no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ about religion. It’s about belief. Although I was brought up in the ‘one, holy, catholic and apostolic faith’ the ‘true faith’, I don’t believe in it. I’m one of several billion human beings who don’t believe in it. If you do, that’s fine, but please don’t tell me I’m ‘wrong’. As someone whose spirituality doesn’t include a God, I obviously think you are not only barking up the wrong tree, you’re not even in the right forest, but I wouldn’t tell you that since it’s just my opinion. What you believe in is your affair, not mine.
        If my poem does touch a chord, and I’m pleased and flattered that you find it does, it’s because it tries to tap into the universality of hope in something better. We all want more or less the same things in the end, we just have different ways of getting there ๐Ÿ™‚

      7. You are quite right each to their own beliefs perhaps you misunderstood me, I am often not too clear, what was wrong was your assessment of the Christian idea which is after all a part of the universality of hope. Humans are moral beings regardless of their beliefs , and it is morality that adds a spiritual dimension to the world. Nature is amoral and only respects survival of the fittest.

      8. You must not be too hard on struggling humanity , life is not easy for many and they have to cling to something. Even violence can often be explained by grim circumstances. ‘ Love overcomes a multitude of sins’

      9. I wasn’t thinking of the struggling masses but more of the business leaders, the heads of state, those who aren’t struggling at all, thanks mainly to the unfortunates who are.

  1. The last three poems of yours I have read all have that really reedy chant of bygone eras and the divine feminine in them, I can taste the season changing and feel the redolence of your welcoming Autumn and with this particular poem, I loved the sorrow, the unapologetic understanding that we need to run from pain and find solace. That is my favorite kind of poetry, where for hours afterward it plays like a song in your mind, bringing out some shared inheritance of time and meaning, our joint past, shared memories conveyed across time, the wisdom of our forebearers. I feel this really echoes that, in your awareness of what we need as humans, and where we go to find it. Absolutely excellent writing my friend.

    1. Thank you! Something I know I have inherited is the melancholic longing of the emigrant. There’s a long, unbroken line that goes back to the stones and the hills. Hard to say that without sounding melodramatic, but Irish people understand. Probably less so with this hi tech generation, but I can’t speak for them.

      1. Interesting. You always give me things to think more on. The melancholy of the emigrant. I suspect I too have that. So do you think that is common place? I would expect it to be, a transplantee who is neither in one or the other? I like the kind of people who CAN understand those old words and not the modern things of now.

      2. I’m sure you have a dose of it. You couldn’t be at all sensitive and not feel some tug from the roots. Even when you have a very good reason for leaving, the place you come from doesn’t change.

      3. Very true. So if you had to say where you felt you belonged, where would it be? And if you do not live there, would you one day like to? And if not, why?

      4. My parents and grandparents and great-grandparents used to talk about going back to Ireland. The old ones never had the money, and my parents didn’t want to move away from their children. My generation are scattered all over the place but funnily enough, of the next generation many of them have partners either Irish or of Irish origin, and my eldest is talking about moving to Ireland if she and her boyfriend can find jobs there. We have talked about it, but I couldn’t bear the climate now with my weird condition and is it fair to inflict my ghosts on a partner whose own ghosts are in England and some forgotten East European shtetl? There’s where your bones and your heart belong and where other considerations say you belong. My heart is in Ireland, probably more in the plain of Meath where my mother’s family is from than in the wilds of Inishowen where the Doughertys are from. I’m prepared to give the Lot et Garonne a try though. There’s a little corner of it on the Garonne that is growing to feel like home.
        How do you feel about ‘home’? Is there ever one, or are we perpetually looking for it?

      5. I like that your heart is in Ireland. I hope more remember that, as they are flung far, I especially feel sorry for people who can never go home again. Wouldn’t that be incredible if your eldest does move back? I can see how the weather would be prohibative that’s why the Irish women have nice skin though, here in TX you really feel your skin rotting from the heat. I would like to feel there was a ‘home’ (land) I don’t feel that way, I don’t see France as my home nor the UK nor the US nor Canada I think for me I may be a bit of a thursdays child (far to go) home may be more of an emotional state than actual, though I WISH I had a ‘home’ to return to, I don’t really feel I do. I expect parents either make or break the idea of home. Having siblings helps. Being an only-child isn’t so great. I do hope your eldest can find a job there, it would be a wonderful experience. Maybe your heart being in Ireland is why you are able to write as you do, the muse is with you and stays with you. I’m glad though that you are a feeling a little bit like home in Garonne. xo

      6. You’re right. It is an emotional state and it’s possible (I hope anyway) to transpose some of the feelings for the ‘home’ of roots to the physical home. When I listen to the orioles and watch the mist rolling up from the river, I imagine there’s a link with anywhere that has birdsong and natural beauty and quiet.

      7. Definitely. I mean look at Toni Morrison and her books, she both transposes (good word) her roots of slavery/africa and america all into one. I really like her writing, some say that’s pretentious of me because she’s so popular but I don’t give much heed to that, she’s popular because she’s good. (but some who are good are not popular). I think there are links in time. For example your ancestors reside in you, so when you come into a part of the world be it another part, you can still hear the echoes. It’s about wanting to listen. You listen. You are an artist and artists tend to, those who never listen may be the most cut off and glad for it. I am not especially proud of my lineage or relatives per say but I think some honor in our blood and the lives before us, is a good thing, and bringing history to the forefront rather than forgetting it. I didn’t ever read Diana Cabroldon (sp) books Outlander et al but then I got from the library the TV version of her series (a cop out I know) and must admit I really like them (very Mills and Boon in a way though) I try not to judge if something strikes me it strikes me. Anyway the main idea of the story (rip off of Highlander but worthwhile from a female perspective) is the girl travels back in time, through the magic stones in Scotland, and I think this links with what you say, that we are echoes of past and future, the writing can convey that – transpose it. Good writing often does. So that’s the feeling for home maybe, in our voices or our song. One scene stayed with me, they are rubbing urine into wool and singing, the songs are gaelic and it’s just incredible, such a movement of voices, that alone has so much power. But you are right, quietude has the greatest power.

      8. I enjoyed Beloved more than Richard Wright’s novels. I find him unpoetic and polemical. History from a woman’s perspective I always find more appealing anyway. Often the great outpourings of indignation are from men on behalf of…men. They want to overturn the status quo as it affects men, but they’re quite happy to go home and slap their girlfriends about.
        I haven’t read Diane whatever but I like that idea of going back in time through the stones. There’s a lot of magic in standing stones.

      9. Yes admittedly if it’s sexist or no, I find history from a woman’s perspective more appealing maybe because the canon was/is so male and women were effectively written out. That is why I like Sarah Water’s work so much, it’s not that she’s gay and writes about lesbians at all but her historical fiction it just really works and brings alive the woman’s perspective in history, the best being Tipping the Velvet but also the wonderful Affinity and Fingersmith, have you read any of hers? The magic aspect of the standing stones I totally agree and I thought of you when I saw that as it’s such an Irish thing even though it was in Scotland, I felt it applied even more to Ireland. The front cover of that classic Led Zepplin LP being a good example, those rocks are incredible. I have never seen them have you?

      10. The stones look like the Giant’s Causeway which I have never seen, though I’m about the only one in the family who hasn’t! I don’t know Sara Water at all. I’m pretty ignorant about contemporary literature. Still catching up on the old stuff ๐Ÿ™‚

      11. YES – I did so want to go there and never have. I too read quite a bit of the old stuff, often more than once, though some of the ones everyone loves I can’t abide. I struggle with Austin for example, not because she isn’t talented, I just find her characters so unsympathetic but I suspect she wrote it thus!

      12. I like Jane Austen and her style. I can’t abide Henry James though. Not the same epoch, I know, but James is closer and you’d think would be more modern, but no, I find him dry as dust and boring as a conseil municipal.

      13. Ha! I did like Mansfield Park but Emma really bothered me! I don’t think I have read Henry James I did mean to but have yet to. The one I found hard was George Elliot, I know she’s very beloved and I can see her worth but I found Middlemarch very tedious except for the last 150 pages. It is always a source of interest to me to see why people like and dislike things, I suppose we as writers can learn a lot from that. I agree what you said earlier, often people will say they like something and you know it’s not good so they have another agenda. For example I have a friend who basically writes 2 or three lines and they’re just little thoughts nothing much nice but not magnificent or life-changing yet he is told often that his work changes lives. I have yet to understand that, but I try to because maybe I’m missing something or maybe it’s what we talked about earlier.

      14. It’s hard to fathom. There is no obvious reason why someone would take the time to write a comment and keep coming back to read more, and comment again unless they really enjoyed what they’d read.
        I can’t remember what I thought of Middlemarch, but I know I loved The Mill on the Floss.

      15. I expect they have another purpose, to seem like they like ‘the person’ rather than their work or to network or because they perceive that person may help them get more? There are often reasons underneath reasons which is disappointing really but such as we are. I was told Mill on the Floss was good I might dare read it!

      16. Right? I think there is a lot of that online I really do, it’s like a mutual appreciation society. I know some people who have tons of followers say on FB because they have power (through their job) and people fawn over them, but if someone else wrote what they wrote nobody would say anything. The chicken or the egg? Right?

      17. Yes. I see this one person on WP has like 10,000 followers and gets 300 likes within 5 minutes of posting, not sure how that works, not interested, the manipulation of the numbers and the quotas of friends. I’m simple. I like real people. It is pointless, unless you are running for office ๐Ÿ˜‰

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