I gave you all I had to give

Jilly has posted a line of Jim Harrison’s

“I’m unsure if all of me returned.”

and asks us to post the poem the line inspires.

Painting ©Igor Novikov


I gave you all I had to give,

A heart that beat, a rose, a dream,

I gave you what I thought would please,

A silver trout in limpid stream.


You took the rose, it’s petals plucked,

My golden dream, to you was clay,

The silver trout slipped through your hands,

My beating heart you tossed away.


The boundless night sky’s full of stars,

And rose trees hum the bees’ refrain,

The silver trout has found its pool,

But will my heart be mine again?


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.

49 thoughts on “I gave you all I had to give”

      1. If you believe that anyone is less than nothing. I don’t think I do. We are all worth at least what the most insignificant insect is worth, and that’s something. Most of us are worth more than that and we have a responsibility to live up to our worth.

      2. That is a nice thought, but I am reminded of a Pearl Jam song, “Nothingman” where the subject caught a bolt of lightning and cursed the day he let it go. The personal torment for him started there. There are those who don’t even catch the bolt, they do not even get the opportunity to let it go. They fail when they try, time and time again…

        Like I said, it hits me violently

      3. You’re not a believer in the ‘better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all’ theory? It can work out. It did for me. When the lightning bolt struck the second (more like the third or fourth) time, though it came from the same source, it was all light and no pain.

      4. My life is the lightning capital of the world
        Pieces of broken bolts scatter the landscape
        Things that could have been so beautiful
        If only they were true

        I do not know if I believe in loved and lost
        I do not know if I loved anything real
        I do not know if I even can
        Or am I just a slave to infatuation

      5. I have never questioned in the act, I do so in the end. I run head first into traffic, in the act. How many times can one be hit by a bus?

        When I fall, I do so without a doubt. That kind of passion, though everyone says they want it, none really are anything but terrified by it.

      6. People are terrified of opening up and giving. If you give everything and get nothing in return, then what? Nobody likes to get hurt, but controlling passion is well nigh impossible. Passion blinds though to the things that common sense would see. Again, it’s a lottery, opening up to the one who won’t just take everything and run.

      7. I can only stand on the shoulders of the great Jimi Hendrix.

        “Take anything you want from me, anything”

        I agree with you on passion, it is what makes me bleed so well. I do not claim to control it, just the environment I am in.

        We can chalk it up to Murphy’s law of attraction, that which drives me to people is ultimately the seed for driving them away.

      8. How did I not see this…

        Getting me out would be more of a challenge than you think, I tend to be consumed with writing and the gym these days.

        The people disappoint me so, nowadays 🙂

      9. The source of the stress is the desire to not want to physically harm others, who despite possibly deserving it, I do not wish to add to my history of violence. You are a gem, Jane.

      10. You put into eloquent words what a homeless drunk of my acquaintance tells me. He doesn’t always manage to restrain himself though. I’m not a gem. I have a rare auto-immune disorder that makes me very tired physically and on a short fuse emotionally. I get upset easily and it comes over as compassion. Maybe it is partly.

      11. None of this makes you any less a gem, you are quite amicable with me, unless that changes, I stand by my statement. To be fair, someone I had said that to tried to kill me, so maybe I am not a great judge of character, but I have my inability to shuffle free this mortal coil to balance it.

      12. I’ll try to live up to my title then. It must be a terrible burden to be a good judge of character. To always believe you know exactly what a person is worth. Best to take people as you find them and leave the judging to those who enjoy that kind of thing.

      1. Harrison was Harrison. You can be JD… with maybe a tinge of Harrison from time to time. That’s better than you becoming fully Harrison, a drinking, carousing, possibly a tad off his nut (he’s a poet, after all!). You be you, and play with his prompts if they work for you. It’s just a lot of fun, and does a lot to stretch me as a poet. I thought your take was wonderful!

  1. Fabulous response to the Harrison line, Jane! Love the balance of this and especially like the trout – too bad about dinner, tho. 🙂 So glad you joined in with the 28 Days of Unreason – a very reasonable thing for you to do, dear!

    1. Thank you 🙂 When we give our heart, it really has gone. The thing that’s left is either a ghost or a replacement. But with the right conditions, I believe we can grow a new one 🙂

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