There was no way

I’ve written it, so I’ll post it. A lai (last one maybe) for the dverse collection.


There must be a way

To get you to stay;

You planned

On blue sky not grey.

I won’t let you stray,

My hand

Holds you here. Winds play,

Wild, in a ballet

Of sand.


Above the gulls’ screams,

Cloud-clash and rain-streams

I heard

Storm break. No sunbeams

Light the day; it seems


To sail, but your dreams

Make you, in your schemes,

A bird.


Come back, hold me tight,

This cannot be right;

It’s wrong!

No land bird takes flight

In a storm and night

So long.

Wait at least for light,

Glass-green waves curl white

And strong.


You left as dawn broke,

Scarce a word you spoke,

A tear

In your eye. I choke

On goodbye; you joke,

Don’t fear.

Sky wears a black cloak,

A harbinger’s croak

I hear.


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.

43 thoughts on “There was no way”

  1. Oh this is absolutely stunning, Jane! ❤️ I especially admire; “Winds play, wild, in a ballet of sand.” 🙂

  2. A fine fleshed-out Lai, Jane–an excellent submission. Four stanzas gave you more room to explore the sadness. Forms can feel like a corset at times, but each foray into uncharted word play is growth.

    1. The form with three couplets of an imposed rhyme encourage padding, I find, lines that aren’t necessary but are there to fill the quota with that rhyme before getting onto another.

  3. I think having the several stanzas allowed you to tell a story. Isn’t that what the lai form did originally? And I think this story is one that’s happened throughout history.

    1. I think that’s the original idea. We ought probably to think of the lai as a song maybe with refrains. It’s hard work getting sense into such short lines though.

      1. Hahahaha. I’m not quite to that, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to write another–though I do actually like the one I just wrote.

  4. I admire the story unfolding thought there’s a hint of a sad ending with sky being black and harbinger’s croak.

    I really like the restraint of emotions you showed in these lines:

    My hand
    Holds you here. Winds play,
    Wild, in a ballet
    Of sand.

    This is a fine work Jane.

  5. Fantastic imagery! And even though there is a hint of tragedy, I feel hopeful. Loved the poem.

  6. Your words seemed to trickle down the page like free-flowing tears. Emotional, and ultimately resigned to fate as hope erodes.

    Also, I had not even considered interlinking the lines into a woven thread of consciousness within a lai form! I like what you’ve done here, and may have to give this form one more go myself.

    1. Thanks Barry! I find that the lines are too short not to have run ons and end of tiny line rhymes have a tendency to sound not-serious to my ear. I’m sure the lai originally told a story in song so a ballad suits it, more or less.

  7. Well done, you have overcome your ‘lai’ aversion and the poem works well in telling a poignant story. Yes, could be a song of love gone wrong but has really original natural imagery.

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