Absence: erased

For today’s NaPoWriMo prompt.


I watch you go, pull out of sight

along the narrow, leafy road

where nothing stirs except the gentle

flutter of the timid birds.

I watch you go while nothing stirs,

no breeze, no bending creaking boughs;

a rustle in last year’s dead leaves

the only sign that life still breaths

though out of sight, heartbeats away.

Mute and motionless, I stand

in the roadway silent now

and empty, waiting for the dusk,

the steady lowering of the sun

that marks the time until the leafy

narrow road will bring you back.

I watch you go, become a tree,

so still the blackbird starts his song

and weaves its honeyed thread about

the hawthorn blossom’s putrid scent.


Absence shrinks the heart as dry

as last year’s shrivelled fallen leaves.


I watch the road,

the flutter of dead leaves,

heartbeats silent,

mute the dusk,

the sun,




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.

18 thoughts on “Absence: erased”

  1. “Absence: erased” is a great title.
    You really do miss him when he goes to town.
    I like how the second poem conveys the essence of the longer poem in its few words.

    1. Thank you! The idea is to pick a random piece of writing (newspaper article, magazine story etc) and scratch out mostof it just leaving certain words. I’ve tried it a few times and for me anyway it doesn’t work at all. What does work is if you scratch out the words of your own work. It can be a distillation of the big poem or occasionally go off in a different direction.

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