Microfiction #writephoto: Watchers

My first reaction to Sue’s Thursday Photo Prompt was a poem. The poem led into a piece of prose. I’m posting them both.


When the world was young the stones were old,

And no bright gemstones, ivory or gold,

Were plundered, stolen, coveted or sold.


When the world awoke the stones too stirred,

And watched the graceful arc of the first bird,

Its rainbow voice, the first song ever heard.


When furtive man began to delve and hew,

And with earth’s bones the gentle grass bestrew,

The stirring of the stones to thunder grew.


Now the angry stones watch oceans rise,

And weep slow tears when pure wild beauty dies,

But watch unmoved the plunderers demise.


For aeons the stone watcher watched alone, as the raging seas subsided, the storm skies parted and the first ripple of green crept over the dry land. It watched the first fish flicker, silver and green and gold beneath the waves, and the first birds, red and blue dive from the craggy furrows of its brow in chase. It felt the soft warm of burrowing animals, and the heartbeat of hunters curled in the shelter of its rocky caves.

Later, the second watcher grew from a seed into a gnarled tree, and the two watchers conversed in the rustle of the wind through leaves, and the whistle as it raced through crags and gullies.

Among the burrowers and the sharp-eyed hunters in the caves of the stone watcher’s face, were the first men, who stretched and pushed the walls, pounded the floor smooth and filled the air with their melancholy songs. The watcher shifted, rocks fell, and the songs became lamentations. The watcher frowned. The tree watcher sighed and chattered in the wind, uneasy.

When the first men chopped down the gnarled tree and burned the watcher with bright-biting fire, the stone watcher knew that the first mistake had been made. The end of beauty was written as clearly as if its story were painted on the coping of the sky. It was only a matter of time before the bright-biting fire ended all things. The stone watcher waited, recorded, and dreamed of the next world beyond the flames.

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.

74 thoughts on “Microfiction #writephoto: Watchers”

  1. And watch unmoved the plunder demise… Hmm..
    Mute yet remaining grounded..
    Silent witness.. A more suitable analogy..

      1. Hmm.. The stillness is a disease.. For those with rushing emotions.. Although for us we have to be still.. To Express

      2. Hmm.. That’s a new emotion.. The usual discussion revolving around the topic of too much thinking, is painted with sneers.. And diplomacy..

      3. That’s because boys with toys that go bang! and boom! like to get in there and use them, whatever the consequences, and if you don’t want to play that way, you’re a wet Nellie.

      4. Ouch, the realities of our times.. But..can it be avoided? Hmm.. Are we just like these stones.. Strange..

      5. But I fear it will be too late. If History has taught us anything it is the fact that the silence is always paid with the heavy price

      6. We always pay the price. Don’t we. Reminds me of what’s going on in Congo as I am using this phone..

      7. I think I will write a post on the 3T of Congo.. Hmm..It’s strange how many of our citizens know about these places.. And topics about Chocolate Slavery.. Or oil mining and cocoa plantation in Amazon rainforest..

      8. I don’t know if you have heard the story or not. But basically.. Before the 60’s there were subjects of Economy and Law or Constitution in High Schools.. Gradually these became specialised subjects. And now you know about them if you enter a college.. Basically nothing is preparing you and it has become a ‘subject’.. Rather than a ‘topic’..

      9. I suppose it’s to be expected. Education stopped being for the process of education round about the time of the Ancient Greeks. It merely produces cogs in the machine.

      10. There is this whole debate raging in Asian Economies, Whether actually Social Sciences are needed or not? Could you believe it? There used to be six Economical School of thoughts now Neo Classical.. No opposing camp none.. Strange..

  2. And those of us born out of the watchers spirit feel the sad burden of helplessness as our so called brethren march us toward the flames. This is exceptional. Both pieces… the almost ditty like quality of the poem contrasting starkly with its subject matter and the unemotional emotion of the prose marching knowingly to its death knell. Superb.

    1. I’m glad you like this. The photo reminded me of the watchers in the daft Noah film with Russell Gladiator Crowe. For all their leaping about and terror tactics they were blasted off the face of the planet. I think the watch and waiters are more believable. What they’ll do when we reach the brink, I’m not sure.

      1. Oh lord. I feel for you.
        That was me 3 months ago. A 3 bedroom house and study on my own. Yay!

      2. Haha that’s good.
        Have a siesta in the sun.
        This character is outrageous. No wonder I never watch Netflix.

      3. I didn’t even know what Netflix was until I looked it up. Some reviewer said they could imagine my Wormholes novel as a Netflix series. Sounds like a left-handed compliment!

      4. So many people love Netflix and apt of money and
        Production is going into so many series so I think it is actually just a straight forward compliment! Wormhole novel? As in time travel?
        Naomi watts is in the show I am watching. She’s aged…a lot! but hubba hubba.

      5. Don’t even know what Naomi Watts is, never mind what she looks like. I’ll take your word for it.
        The Wormholes book was rechristened Abomination by the publisher. Yep, it’s wormholes as in time, space, parallel universe travel.

      6. She’s an Aussie actress successful in the US.
        The wormhole novel sounds cool. Any to send? 😁 I love my sci fi.
        Anyway have a good day!

      7. In theory I sent out all my copies, but since I didn’t hear back from most of the people who asked for one, I’ll send you a copie of a copie…

      8. As in publishing people or writer acquaintances? That is a little disappointing. I’m pretty respectful in responding when people make the effort to share their pieces so sure, send away and I’ll get back to you.

      9. I had ten review copies and asked who would like them. A few were friends who probably read the book or it’s still in the to read pile. The others were unknowns who enthused…and have never surfaced since, anywhere. If they didn’t like it, I’m glad they kept quiet πŸ™‚

      10. I sent some of my writing to an old friend who teaches literature and she never got back to me. I was disappointed but I can’t control her response so f’ it. 😎
        Off to uni class. Ciao!

      11. I’m learning to implement zero expectation in all the aspects of my life and just be. Tricky strategy

      12. Exactly. And if I am let down I try to analyse how my perception of how someone ‘should’ respond is a premeditated expectation which could lead me into states of resentment.
        I am trying this with my ex and family and so far it’s working. I just don’t have the stamina anymore to hold onto my own projected ideals onto external stimulus. I can’t control anything except my own thoughts, feelings and subsequent responses.
        When you sent your material did you ask for feedback to be given?
        I just write on this site to the abyss – any feedback is great but if I get nothing I am happy to just have expressed myself in words rather then swirling around in my head.
        Bla! War and peace.

      13. Do you really think you can control your thoughts and feelings? It seems to me that we can direct them somewhere in particular, but not control how they emerge. Finding a focus maybe would work easier than trying to stifle feelings.
        I sent out review copies, to people who asked for a review copy. Normally that means…you review. As I said, if they hated it or it left them indifferent, I’m glad they passed on the review.

      14. I don’t mean control as it forcibly stifle or suppress. More so, I try to redirect them or choose not to engage in them if they feel uncomfortable. I just let them float by, watch them, acknowledge them, name them and just accept that is what they are. Control is probably the wrong choice of word. I try not to reinforce them and I don’t resist them.
        Some thoughts or feelings are harder then others so hmm maybe I do fall into a default position of control. Therapy 101.
        Well it seems it is more a reflection of their inconsistency and incapacity to review! 😝 Their loss.

      15. Letting things float, name them but just let them be. Sounds good. It’s as though they are external, not a part of you that can be wounded or destroyed. I like that notion.

      16. I guess it is like an essence of Buddhist detachment hey?
        Ah the joys of meditation and mindfulness. I’ve really gotten into it lately. Been saving me from unconsciously and then consciously attaching myself to toxic feelings. So much spaciousness in thought and emotions.
        Yes to not being wounded or destroyed. I’m too tired for emotional first aid anymore

      17. Whatever works for you. It’s different for all of us. I write myself stupid when things get shitty. But they don’t much these days, thank goodness.

      18. That’s great πŸ™‚
        That being said I have written some beautiful songs when I am in love or heartbroken haha

      19. Haha well the songs were beautiful. She gave me a lot of material.
        I have musical writers block at the moment so I need another heartbreak or love. Maybe despair? 🀣

      20. I’m just jokin around. I’m rising from despair’s clutches. Now I’m just rebuilding. First I used straw, then I sticks now I am using bricks. Huff Huff.
        I do have hope. Very much so. Just more realistic this time.

      21. That’s good to hear πŸ™‚ Some woman left a comment on a poem of mine that sounded pretty suicidal so I had a look at her blog before replying, walking on eggshells sorta thing. Her poems were all dark, suicidal things so I left some vaguely anodyne comment that I hoped was soothing. She never replied. I’ve seen her since on other blogs and she’s happy as Larry, just ‘pretending’ to be suicidal. Weird.

      22. Oh really? Borderline probably haha
        I was following a blog as I liked one poem but then it was a lot about self harm over and over and I think the writer was really unwell. I felt guilty for some reason but I couldn’t follow it anymore as it was really chaotic and dark. Reminded me of my last job.
        It was kind that you left a nice comment.

      23. Who knows what masks people wear, if any.
        I don’t think you’re a twit for being a caring person and writing words that could soothe. That’s compassion whether she was authentic or not.
        I need to sleep. Bonne nuit πŸ‘¨β€πŸŽ¨

  3. I love the ancient feel of the rhyme, Jane, and the opening words: ‘When the world was young the stones were old’, and the idea of the stones watching everything come alive before ‘furtive man began to delve and hew’. No wonder they became angry. Poem and prose are both stunning.

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