Sailing away

For the dverse prompt, movement.


Each letting go

is torn from us by circumstance,

tossed on heavy seas,

a whisper caught by the wind.

We look ahead,

see only the dread of a wilderness,

filled full of other people’s roots.

Laughing gulls mock

our trailing root-wounds, red and raw,

and call out,

Go home.


We fold things neatly

with sprigs of lavender

between the best sheets,

but the soil clings to our boots,

beneath our finger nails,

clings so hard around our hearts

sometimes they break.

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.

29 thoughts on “Sailing away”

      1. Yes, that’s so true. I moved away from Texas 25 years ago, and I love Arizona. But there are times when I miss Texas so much- the food, the people, the landscape.

  1. If some of us can really go home, we will. This line stands out for me:

    Laughing gulls mock

    our trailing root-wounds, red and raw,

    and call out,

    Go home.

  2. Homesickness is a familiar ailment, Jane, and I feel it in this poem. I’ve felt the ‘dread of a wilderness, filled full of other people’s roots’ and those ‘trailing root-wounds, red and raw’ more than once. Yes, the soil does cling to our boots and beneath our fingernails, but I returned and felt the disappointment that it wasn’t as I remembered it. even more so now.

    1. That is the flip side. My dad always said, you can never go home. He was in a position to go back, unlike the grandparents, but he was always afraid of what you describe, finding home had gone.

    1. Mine doesn’t 🙂 No home is perfect, but those who have left against their will want nothing more than to be able to go back to peace and enough to eat. Our earthly home is the only one we have and it’s only right that every human being should have one. My opinion anyway.

  3. After spending an entire weeklong vacation with my husband’s family (reason for the delay – sorry) I really want to read your poem to them, most of whom brush the red raw roots under the bed and focus instead on the lavender sprigs. Yes, I’m sure there’s a benefit to being so positive, but I know ignoring one’s past and suppressing our dirty roots can be detrimental to true progress. Yes, that is the discussion I long to have, as someone so clearly dragging clumps of red earth around – I couldn’t even fake all’s A-ok if I wanted to – not senseless political banter or talk of the local sports team.

    1. Too many people have life too easy. They tend to be the same people who are violently opposed to sharing anything, keeping ‘them’ out, looking out for number one, all with very plausible and compelling arguments usually involving children and the need to look out for their interests. The world is out of kilter and the big fat rich people weigh far more in the balance than the teeming hordes of thin, anonymous poor people—their own ancestors not so long ago.

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