Peace and the North

A poem for dverse


Peace, the flame-crackle,

the yip yip of a small owl,

the vast dark, pressing.

Starspots and spangles,

embroidered light—

the Milky Way, a sash and so silent.

Light and dark

and the unseen, whispering trees,

and all this space,

but nothing between your hand and mine,

the pole star clutching.

We never lose the North.

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.

64 thoughts on “Peace and the North”

      1. One of last years best records was blackstar I think… which says that even a single word can be a metaphor… it’s called a kenning and was used a lot in old nordic poetry. We had a prompt on that some years ago.

      1. That is such a masterful work. Just like that bluebird, ain’t that just like me? (Sorry Jane for highjacking your thread for this little Bowie homage, but we just can’t resist it, can we Bjorn? hehe

  1. ‘Peace, the flame-crackle’ ignites this poem, Jane, and then the fire takes hold and it burns away on its own! I love those ‘Starspots and spangles’ and the strong use of sibilance, which provides the sound effects for the Milky Way. My favourite lines:
    ‘…nothing between your hand and mine,
    the pole star clutching.
    We never lose the North.’

      1. Jane, you and Kim both wrote lovely symmetries of darkness – owls – stars- shadows. I think that is wonderful. Kim was coming into acclimation with it in hers, you are enveloped in lovely night already on yours. A kind “witch” beckons to the acolyte. Sound like a nice night out indeed. 🌌

  2. Dark and dusky come the words tonight, tumbling out of black holes and moon shadows. But happily, your poem had a tingle of romance and hope as a capper.

  3. anything you write about the night and its sky s always gorgeous Jane, this is no exception, you bring the night to the sky and uncover all it’s secrets to finding a solution

      1. it is certainly so magical when that happens and yes this is one of those really write and no edit types that seemed to have been painstakingly crafted, starting a poem or story with an emotion has tremendous depth

      2. True, but it’s often what the event means that is the driving force, so it’s mixed up with an emotional response. otherwise it’s like a news announcement.

      3. some news announcements and announcers can get pretty heated up too Jane! so yes there is a lot of emotion involved even when presenting facts.

      4. I think it’s much healthier if we can trust the public service broadcasts just to present the facts. Commentators from all shades of opinion can comment, and because we know they are just commentators, we can choose to agree or disagree with their interpretation of events,

      5. That’s why it’s simplistic of to say that if only people weren’t being ‘mislead’ by the media they would see through the lies of their leaders. People choose the news they want to hear, and believe the interpretation that suits them best. I don’t believe that people are basically good and honest and altruistic, and if they behave appallingly it’s because they’ve been ‘mislead’. There are genuinely horrible people around 🙂

      6. i will have to agree with you though i don’t like that i feel this way, i want to believe that people are good but they end up proving me wrong i give up

    1. I agree that “nothing between your hand and mine” gives form and tenor and joy to the tremendous inversions in this poem. The immense Milky Way becomes asmall sash, the clasped hands becomes the entire sum and focus of the universe. Wonderful Jane! 🖤

  4. I like embroidered light very much, I was looking at Hubble pictures this morning , hand in hand with my beloved and we spoke about the way the lens on most cameras, including our eyes, superimpose crossed beams of light on the star’ core. Artists, I noted, have been depicting stars this way for years, including in embroidery. I’m always so – interested,/amazed/gratified when life creates these synchronicities- nature’s metaphors I suppose!.

    1. Yes, that is strange now you mention it. The earliest representations of stars are in the form of points of light. I’d assumed that we see things completely differently to the earliest people, but apparently not.

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