This poem is very loosely inspired by Migratory birds by Desanka Maksimovic. (sorry, can’t get the accent). For the dverse prompt.


Geese fly south when the cold bites

and makes them cry for fledglings

lost to fox and hawk,

to the death of hunger-weakness or guns.


Geese fly, and their cry echoes in the winter sky,

the cry of ice-bound reaches that I will never see.

The geese fly south to winter warmth because they must,

and the hunger-weak fall behind.


Although I am not a goose,

and my winter place is my summer place,

and my chicks never died of fox or hunger-weakness,

still their cries tear a reply from my heart


for all that is left behind

and all that will never return.




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.

44 thoughts on “Travelling”

  1. It is indeed the cry of geese on the wind which touches us – love these lines
    “still their cries tear a reply from my heart

    for all that is left behind
    and all that will never return.”

  2. Our interpretations are quite similar. There is something about the flying V’s of geese that makes us all wax poetic!

  3. A V of snow geese thrilled me once. Fine piece that puts our empathy to the test. I love animals in the wild, but I will step on a spider.

    1. Thanks Glenn. I even leave spiders alone these days, chase wasps outdoors, rescue butterflies stuck behind the window, carry snails across the road. We’re losing too much to be able to stamp on things for no reason—reason for spider stomping for me is when they get too close to the bed 🙂

  4. I really like the depth here Jane, somber though it is. The essence was faithful to its inspiration. It may not have been intended, but your third verse had a touch of dark humor. I smiled momentrily, and liked it. Nice work.

  5. This is a a wonderful write, Jane! I love the story of Geese in transition and your transition to the personal with the cries of your own children. Well done!!

      1. I like to think it’s possible to have a world where human babies don’t need to die because their parents don’t have access to our privileges. A bit more sharing of resources and investing in their development would be a good start.

  6. Your travelling geese are dark and tragic, Jane, tinged by the echoes of natural death and human violence. I love the sight of geese in a winter sky.

  7. A little melancholic? 😉 Today while shopping I thought again the saleswomen would like to do it like the geese, and fly from it. With the geese, however, I also seem they a certain joy in the here and now. ,-) Michael

    1. They represent the freedom to just fly away and never come back. But the geese work hard for their freedom, and they always do go back north because that’s what they are programmed to do.

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