Blood and bones don’t change

I don’t know if this long streel of a thing counts as a haibun, but it came out in response to several prompts that have led me back to childhood haunts. The artwork ©Artist Bird 1955 fits it very well.



Thinking back on childhood times, my eye, the camera runs along lanes and hedgerows, through rabbit woods and fields where cows graze, by the side of narrow roads shaded by sycamores and beech trees. The film is in my head, nowhere else, because the town has changed since those days, moved and stretched over some of the places I played, tidied up the wild places and built over the meadows.


Tame, the trees wander,

well-marked paths through the bracken,

stream bubbles, still wild.


I loved the wilderness, the empty spaces where nobody went. In those days nobody walked in the countryside for fun. Adults wanted cars, kids wanted bikes first, later pocket money to spend in the city on clothes and records, to walk arm in arm among the crowds and talk about bands and fashion. But I would spend my free time in the woods that filled the old railway cutting, following the stream that tumbled along the bottom from one great sandy pool to the next. There were tiny fish and freshwater shrimps, and caddis fly larvae in their gemstone tunnels. Birds sang, and seeing unfamiliar plumage was as exciting as any new film. At night there were the stars from bedroom windows, and foxes playing on the lawn. I didn’t care that birdsong and foxes were unimportant.


Stars stare silently

as radios fill the night,

music for other ears.


I am older now. Life has taken me from the trackless woods along well-trodden paths of work and family, friendships and necessary tasks. I have done what was expected and required. Not very well, but the lines have been followed. Now, the path is broadening again. The trees and the birds beckon. Once again I can shun the shops, forget the theatres and cinemas I never went to anyway, the restaurants that always made me ill. I am at the age where my achievements should be visible in the way I dress, do my hair, the way I stroll around town, sit, sipping coffee in cafés when my expensive shoes begin to pinch. I should dress with gravitas and elegance, make up my face to smooth away the years. Instead I sit in the meadow, in clothes twenty years old, with the neighbour’s donkeys and listen to the orioles. Buzzards wheel overhead, searching for the quick movement of small animals disturbed by the harvester. The sun moves slowly across the sky, turning back the years almost to the beginning, and it feels like going home.


All eyes and ears then,

pool-trawler, birdsong-listener,

blood and bones don’t change.

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.

200 thoughts on “Blood and bones don’t change”

      1. I do
        It’s hard not to when it can be slammed in your face from ever angle you look
        Life is subtle
        Force is a bully

      2. True. And it isn’t always easy to do what deep down you feel you want to. We all have to eat, pay bills, we have dependents. Maybe I don’t pay enough attention to the practicalities, but you only get one shot at it, so…

      3. Let’s write a morning song to bills?
        Well I just did a night shift! In that note of money sleep 😛

      4. Pathological is the medical model. So retrained. I’m surprised a writer uses its term

      5. Good! I’m Aussie so we couldn’t care less 🙂
        I actually have been throwing my paper bills in the bin before opening knowing my budget. I can’t cope

      6. I sympathise.The way I deal with it is I put a stamp on the bill, take it to the post office and sort of absent-mindedly forget to put it in the box. When we get the reminder, I can in all honesty say, but I posted it last week.

      7. I have a creative idea. Pay your bills then mine in Oz an BOOM the creative faery will burst out and sprinkle

        Ok work time.

        I liked your poem! Did I mention thatcher? Hahaha

      8. If I could pay my own bills without needing anti-stress pills, I’d probably find the poems dried up and I’d need some of your Oz fairies to work their magic. You didn’t mention thatcher. Should you have done?

  1. I really like this, Jane. It’s what you said to me yesterday, but you’ve captured it so lyrically here. I like the cafes and theaters, but I would love to sit in that meadow with you in old clothes and listen to the donkeys and watch the buzzards fly.

    1. I love the idea of cafés and culture, but it’s years since I’ve sat foot inside a theatre. I’ve been to the cinema twice in twelve years and eaten in a restaurant once! The things we did when we were students and before we had the children are worlds away now.

  2. I was being a smart ass. Thatcher –

    Did I mention that ta cha (to you)

    Ok I’m officially worst comedian ever

  3. I have confused even myself. If I wasn’t gay or in Sydney I would make it up to you by asking you out for a coffee

      1. Um well considering
        I am a woman gay and coffee
        might be a a tad dark poetically

        Follow my stuff. Love your writing
        X ciao

      1. Haha I’m glad I’m in Sydney is all I can say. Oh wait. Hang on. Total corruption in building sector. I’m moving to NZ!

      2. Ha Auckland is pretty funky actually. No sheep. I lived there for a year. So many places in the Nth Is. & esp the Sth Is. It is probably one of the most beautiful places in the world. I’m just not sure about the cold agreeing with me 😳

      3. I thought NI was warmish. I couldn’t stand the cold either, but it has to be said that the less inviting the climate, the more likely it is to have not been ruined by mass tourism and property developers.

      4. Well it ain’t tropical Queensland but it is about as warm as Tasmania haha
        Keeps the investors out most definitely

      5. Too much deforestation. I went around it 3 times in my kombi with my gf and two dogs when it was illegal to be gay. The most breathtaking beautiful scenery contrasted with logged death. Never passed so many logging tricks

      6. Hard to imagine it being illegal to be gay outside fundamentalist religious holes. Destroying the forests is destroying the planet. Too many places are stripped bare like that, topsoil blows away, good for nothing but grazing goats.

      7. Yeah well tassie was like that in the 90s. Redneck. Then suddenly al the hippies were old enough to vote and they had the first openly gay senator sworn in and leader of the greens. I’ve lost interested now. Disheartened grumbled poet 😜

      8. To be honest, it gets on my nerves when people like politicians stick non-political labels on themselves like Green, Gay, Muslim, Christian, Vegan—I mean, who needs to know about their private lives? The religious stickers to me just say, I’m coming with a whole load of superstitions and ideas that don’t have much to do with equality and tolerance.

      9. True but it’s also all about marketing
        Once in office to highlight parts of themselves (labels yes) we pioneer forward against mainstream doctrine.
        Malcolm x wasn’t just a guy he was an African American guy; Obama? First African president. We didn’t just say oh yeah a guy. It’s about breaking boundaries so for a state that was the list backward in terms of gay rights and the most heinous with indigenous history to have a leader voted in that us gay to to be celebrated as it highlights the progress

      10. That’s very true. But being black, like being a woman or being gay isn’t something you choose, it’s the way you are, and to be discriminated against for something you can do nothing about (even if you wanted to) is just so wrong! It needs celebrating when the mould is broken. What I really object to, if I’m honest is when they define themselves as belonging to a religious group. That, to me, just sets off so many alarm bells I’d find it very difficult to vote for them.

      11. I couldn’t agree more. Separation of powers here in Australia is shot. The states is worse. I have nothing against religion but I don’t wanna hear about it out of politicians mouth. Irrelevant

      12. Or even worse when they say the word evil. I think to myself oh oh here we go. What do you want-oil? Land? Mining rights? Water?

      13. Ideally of course we should have to have the debate or labels at all but that isn’t reality

      14. You get lost about a colloquial nanna segway to im going to bed early! Eh?

      15. It’s easier than you think. I haven’t lived in an anglophone country for thirty years, haven’t set foot in one for fifteen years. My English isn’t so much stuck in a time warp as floating free.

      16. It’s probably why my books aren’t popular. The ideas and writing are fine, but I just can’t write the monosyllabic, half-arsed dialogue that is (apparently) how everyone younger than 30 communicates now.

      17. Haha are you saying I am mono with half an ass?
        Who says they don’t sell?

      18. Not you! There’s all the different idioms that go over my head (like your nana whatsit) but those are just forms of speech. Once you know what they mean they’re no problem the second time around, but there’s a common denominator of English that I just find ugly and sloppy. Nobody has ever had problems following US TV serials, but does everyone in the rest of the world have to sound like the characters in them? They don’t sell, partly because I don’t spend any money on advertising, partly because they don’t have enough tropes, enough kick ass, enough saccharine romance, or anything much that people want to read about.

      19. Haha I travel out 24.32 seconds from the inner city and I don’t even understand

      20. Kind of like my love life 😘

        Anyway my dog for a little while longer yay!

        Have a good night. I look forward to your next piece.

        I have writers block…again.

      21. Write in dog. I do that sometimes. It helps strip the crap off things and gets down to essentials. Is it good night there already? You lot spend all your lives asleep!

      22. Woof growl. It isn’t working.

        What do you mean?
        Oh pfftt! I’m not going to sleep!!! I just didn’t want to clog up a poetry feed and I was being polite. Jesus!

        Are you a Pom?

      23. Ha ha! You have to give your dog something to do like waiting outside the park or riding in a car. Then write what she/he is thinking.
        I’m Irish but I was brought up in the land of the Poms. Left as soon as possible.

      24. You’re lucky!!!! I thought hmmm she seems a bit mouthy…I bet she’s a Pom! But you’re lippy! I’m 70% Irish on one side. Thank god. I thought it was mainly poms. Hahhaa

      25. We can’t help where we come from, but at least there’s a chance that your ancestors, even the poms were booted out of GB for being enemies of the state.

      26. Totes
        He’s playing a ludovico einaudi number right now
        Black cats. Gotta watch them

      27. I have two. One is fat and slow on the uptake (but has a beautiful singing voice and an extensive vocabulary). The other has issues but she is extremely lovable in her nutty way.

      28. Spoken word with slow sexy bass,m and aCapella melodic Soprano’s? Then one with the issues can maybe be into advertising

      29. You’re making me laugh! She does a mean clog dance (that’s one of her issues, walking silently like a normal cat) but anything that involves smart answers isn’t her thing.

      30. Oh. She wouldn’t like me then. I hate female cats anyway. Total bitches. I get boy cats. Powerless and I can throw them over me here shoulder ack like

      31. She doesn’t know she’s a female cat. In fact, I don’t think she knows she’s a cat. Our boy cats all died or ran away. Time to adopt another one maybe. Dog hates boy cats though.

      32. My female dog loves my boy cat! Bestys. But she is freaked by my ex’s 3 females in your defence.
        George the cat walks with us all in the park at night. Super fun when I pass a human and they see a single
        Woman with long curly hair with two dogs and a black cat. Waaaaaaaiiiit

      33. I’d love to be able to take Trixie for a run, she could do to shed a few kilos. I wonder why they react like that? We’ve had three boy cats in quick succession and Finbar (the dog) has tried to murder all of them. The girls just give him the eye, eat his dog biscuits and he looks on helplessly.

      34. Hah. Probably because George walks literally to the service station and sits closer then the dogs. Basically triggering the opening and closing sensor doors like an apparition.
        The area i lived from where he did that was very multicultural and not particularly black cat, lesbian beanie wearing owner and huge lab mastiff type of community people😝
        I found it
        Hilarious when i did it after a joint

      35. I’m prone to paranoia but yes when it comes to black cats and fear abiding citizens

      36. Have you see the cat treadmill skit on YouTube? Oh my. Makes any dark day of mine bright again

      37. In France it’s a mark of education. The French are extremely prickly about mucking about with the language and it is taught in all it’s beauty in the schools. But the way kids speak is a pretty unintelligible mixture of foul language and backslang. The obscenities are varied enough for it to be just colourful, but nobody would ever write the way your average hoodie on the street speaks.

      38. French and the written language upholding the historical bourgeoisie – why never!
        I actually don’t even need to understand anything they say. The rhythm of French and Spanish is to die for. I excel at learning Spanish but I was expelled from high school because of my French class hahahhaa I came last and my awful teacher accumulated all of my missing classing without any warning until I had exceeded the max then dobbed me in. Bastard!

        I don’t care though. I love hearing about language and culture and I hope to just live in a few European towns one day. France, Germany, Poland and Italy.


        Spread my Aussie accent attempting language around

      39. They take their language seriously as probably the Spaniards do too. They’re fighting to keep Americanisms out of the language, but the pressure to conform to the language of Trump is scary. Europeans love Aussies, so make the most of it 🙂

      40. Do they? I should go whilst I am still in my prime and fall in love with a gorgeous French woman.
        I have animals alas. When they sprinkle the air as stardust comes and goes and my bank balances decides to grows
        Wshhhhh I will.

        Thanks for the tips 🙂

      41. Animals are chicks magnets haha
        God. I’m saying that I have two dogs in my studio and a black cat now and it’s a Saturday night. 😳🤓


      42. Strange. They need the ole Westminster system to destroy them slowly instead 😎

      43. I agree! What is it the 265 amendment? Why hasn’t someone blown him away yet?
        I don’t condone violence
        Actually fuck globalisation as it’s so passé. We’re all about to put up invisible walls and I’ll be stuck with Malcolm Turnbull. Or Trunbull as Trump officials referred to after he was elected in haha
        Oh my it made us laugh

      44. Trunbull! I looked him up. He sounds typical of those politicians who see politics as a career with a structure. Doesn’t matter if the voters keep telling him he’s crap, he keeps coming back. Why do we put up with them. Globalisation is passé. It’s called China now.

      45. Well come to Sydney
        I rest my case. No offence to anyone but our government has sold out and our whole country is basically Chinese owned now. Next step Kim

      46. Really? Where are you now? Still in Ireland or France?
        Yep well a Chinese investor tried to buy the buggest cattle farm we have here. Basically 5 European countries worth. The government blocked it. Why. I am not that cluey. But then Gina rinehart our richest Aussie mining tycoon when in business with that investor and they bought it.
        Cattle or mining? Gas fracking maybe?

        Omg I am sooooo depresso. Where’s your dancing cat

      47. I’m in Bordeaux with the insidious Chinese. That figures. The rich couldn’t give a toss about their country, their neighbours, probably not even their own family. I’ve tried to take pictures of the clog-dancer, but she just looks subnormal. I’ll try again. Her fur’s almost all grown back so she doesn’t look quite so weird. If she keeps still…

      48. You probably wouldn’t want to be in my street right now—tiny tots’ party in the flat across the way, tiny tots milling and screaming in the street escaped from a grown up party in the beer garden at the end. It’s very hot and I’m on a short fuse.

      49. 😳 oweee other people’s children
        How terrifying
        And screeching in high pitched French modalities and cadences
        Beer garden I think is the only Segway I hear for your escape

      50. Isn’t a segway that stupid two-wheeled contraption that goes about as fast as a geriatric penguin with bunions? And no, the beer garden is full of the parents of said children, about 50% of them African from real Africa not just from across the road, and I’m surprised you can’t hear them actually. No one has a louder voice than a black African, especially after a few drinks.

      51. I think we could shout down an African party. Add in a few bonfires and police sirens 🙂

      52. We never get the police sirens. The police stay well out of African politics. It’s okay today actually. The music isn’t too loud and the kids have collapsed with the heat 🙂

      53. Oh I wish I had African families having a party if it meant heat
        I’m freeeeeeezing. Oh it’s only like 2.5 weeks
        Into winter.
        Kill me

      54. That’s another thing I forget, not only do you sleep when the rest of us are up and doing stuff, but you have your summer in the middle of winter. I don’t know how you cope!

      55. That’s what I say!
        I’m a realist
        Although I am also a romantic so I am totally fucked yo

      56. PC? Me? Don’t make me laugh! I’m heading for a bullet one of these days from any number of places. As husband keeps telling me about going to live in the countryside, you won’t know where the shot came from.

      57. Yes. I reckon I might put a wig on and ride a Unicycle and repeat fucken Aida
        And I will become Australia’s first female president after we become a republic
        Oh I wish I had some home and away episodes on my cv

      58. I wouldn’t be embarrassed by that. He has an amazing amazing voice. Anyone who thinks the contrary is blind 😳

    1. I couldn’t even bear to visit my old home town. It’s only in the last couple of weeks that I’ve looked it up on Google Earth. Too hard. But the type of life still draws me.

  4. I live this double life … the notion of city chic but the reality of sitting in a meadow and in the end the meadow wins hands down. This is really a beautiful piece. I will share it with my FaceBook Crowd if you don’t mind …

    1. Lucky you having a FB crowd 🙂 I use it so little I don’t get notifications from anyone anymore. Share away. I was never chic, and I still have the wardrobe to prove it. Talk about living in a time warp, not only do I still have and wear the clothes I wore as a student, but I even have some of my mother’s clothes that she bought when I was small. One of the consequences of not having changed size since I was twenty. And never having been as well off again!

      1. Ha! It’s quite a small crowd now. It was very large and I culled it in a fit of malaise a couple of years ago. ‘Fashion is what suits you’ my granny always said and I am happy to embrace the notion fully. I wear what I wear and although I am sometimes to be found assessing new things I pretty much always talk myself out of them. On the grounds of waste of money that we don’t have and feeling more comfortable with what I have!

      2. Don’t you always feel most comfortable in the ‘thing’ you paid 50 centimes for on the flea market? The girls also have several ‘things’ that cause me problems when I take them out of the wash and can’t decide which way up they go, if the holes are for arms, legs or two heads etc etc.

      3. Absolutely I do! And if I’m comfortable then all is well. My girls too, of course. The flip side is the often heard ‘isn’t that mine?’ From one or other of them, or me …. we are like a giant fripperie where nothing is ever sold and which now exists here, in England, sometimes in the US and in Malaysia since we are dotted about like a rather chic rash 😂

      4. My family. One of the reasons I moved away was to preserve what was left of my wardrobe. I recommend far away as a reasonable solution!

      5. Ha ha! I don’t value any of my clothes enough, but I do value my sanity, and the rows I’ve had to endure about stolen garments, and the things that (apparently) went into the wash and never came out. I, being the one most likely to have performed both operations get the flak.

      6. My second daughter lives there. I have yet to visit. If I do I won’t stay forever because she is a terrible clothes magpie!!!

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