Frozen ghosts

The dverse prompt is to choose just one of the dozens of beautiful photos on Sharon Knight’s blog, and let it inspire a poem. The photo I chose (with difficulty) is

Winter trees reflected in a pond—from Sharon Knight’s Sunearthsky blog.


In the winter pond, the ghosts

of trees are caught in milky moon

light, pale as smoke and pearly

as the dawn that makes of ice

a glacier sky of frozen stars.


Do fish still sweep and curve beneath

the silk smooth surface of the moon,

the mirror glass of space and time?


Deer cracks the glass from side to side

with dainty hoof and scatters stars

into the watery firmament.


Winter, the sound cracks, gunshot

sharp, like ice on pearly moonlit ponds,

like falling stars, a dainty hoof. Pale

smoke recedes between the ghostly trees.




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.

53 thoughts on “Frozen ghosts”

    1. I can’t remember my kids watching Bambi. I think it was too sad for all of us, but my younger daughter used to watch The Fox and the Hound with tears rolling down her face.

      1. I agree. I started reading a book a couple of months ago, and right at the beginning the hero let his dog die (he was in a situation, and he knew his dog would defend him, but would die in the attempt), and I decided I couldn’t read the book. So I put it down, and picked up another. 🙂

      2. I had a similar reaction to a classic (The House on the Borderland) which I had been enjoying until the hero gets another dog to replace his dog that died (through his fault) and he treats the new dog horribly because it could never replace the dead one. I hated him.

    2. One of my first memories is the utter sadness I felt watching this scene for the first time, not understanding anything except that my worst fear was coming to life on the screen. Forty five years later, I still couldn’t bear to watch it. But I love the comparison.

    1. I had a hard time choosing a photo. They are beautiful and evocative, probably of different things, but the ghostly trees are just so gorgeous! I’m glad you like what your work inspired.

    1. Ha ha! Neither have I 🙂 Not much chance of seeing it here either, but where I was brought up, water froze. There were no ponds and no deer to drink from them, but it was cold and we had snow.

  1. It is indeed a day for fish! This is wonderful, so much sleepy silence and that dear deer and the stars on the ice and then after the gunshot, again the shattering silence. Brilliant Jane. Who needs to watch Bambi?

  2. Beautiful imagery…I especially like
    “Do fish still sweep and curve beneath
    the silk smooth surface of the moon,
    the mirror glass of space and time?”
    Thanks for joining in, Jane.

  3. Jane, you have really done it on this one. What a beautiful piece of work. So much imagery… love the way you turned the lake surface into so many different images. The gunshot sound of the ice freezing and breaking in the cold! Beautiful!

    1. Winter is death to so much. I’m glad I live in a place where I have living proof that things are still alive and growing. You lose that certitude when everything is covered in snow.

  4. Your haunting poem is full of nature, my favourite theme, painted with a delicate touch, Jane. I love ‘ghosts of trees caught in milky moon light’ and wondering about the the fish – such graceful movement in ‘sweep and curve’ – like stars in ‘the mirror glass of space and time’. It’s pulled together so well in the final stanza with its sound effects and repetition.

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