The winter went

Flying geese.

The winter went wherever winters go

And left the meadow hushed beneath the breeze;

No frost will come to crisp the grass, no snow

Will fall or water running in the ditches freeze.


The winter went and left us with the cry

Of homing geese and their deep-voiced refrain.

We stand beneath the broad bird-woven sky;

Buds burst, rain falls yet still the dreams remain.

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 “The winter went”

    1. Thank you! Winter has been a damp squib this year (not that I’m complaining). I’ll be glad to see the geese going north. The cranes ought to be here soon, it’s certainly warm enough.

      1. It has been mild here too. And wet. I planted allium bulbs last autumn but I fear they may have rotted in the ground the last few months. How amazing to have cranes near you! We regularly see urban foxes but aside from the odd hedgehog, that’s the most ‘wild’ we get

      2. The cranes fly over. I don’t know where they end up, but we have lots of egrets and herons which is pleasant. I wish we had more hedgehogs. I’ve seen a few but not many, martens, roe deer, badgers and red squirrels we have in reasonable numbers too, but we also have too many brainless cretins who shoot or trap them.

      3. Sounds like a wildlife haven to me. Never seen a red squirrel, other than one stuffed in a case! We’ve only seem one hedgehog here but it’s nice they can just about hold on in a city with so many cats around. So people trap the squirrels? Why would that be? Do they pose a problem for farmers?

      4. Rural France is very rural and the population is spread a lot thinner than in England so there’s more potential habitat for wildlife. We don’t have the grey squirrel either so there’s no competition and we still have martens which apparently are the grey squirrel’s worst enemy. We do have though a significant population of trigger happy mainly retired cretins who shoot anything and the real afficinados who also set traps for things too small to shoot and put down glue to trap song birds. Most of it’s illegal but when the chief of the gendarmerie is a fan, who’s going to enforce it? None of the so-called pests do any significant damage and some do none at all, but there’s big business in selling traps for martens, dormice, squirrels etc that might dare to over winter in your attic. Country people everywhere have no respect for other life forms at all.

      5. Much as I enjoy watching grey squirrels, it would be fantastic to have the red back, though unlike the wild boar and the wolf I’ve heard no talk of reintroducing them. Probably because we do still have them in remote areas. People trap dormice? What the bloody hell for? I get foxes (though I don’t approve of course) – they at least pose a genuine of low level threat. But dormice? What’s wind with people?

      6. In rural areas (and an awful lot of France is rural) we get all sorts of critters moving indoors in the winter. People get ridiculously possessive about their PVC domains, and about hygiene, dirt etc etc and where it used to be just rat destruction, the rat men now do a whole palette of destruction. People especially don’t like being visited by martens. I love them, they’re beautiful, curious and they just want somewhere cosy to have their babies. If they chew the wiring a bit, you just have to keep an eye on it.
        I read that the natural predator of the grey squirrel is the pine marten. What irony that it’s been practically exterminated in the British Isles.

      7. We watched a whole documentary on martens, ferrets, weasels and other members of that family and what amazingly charming creatures they are, just wonderful, inquisitive, courageous. We welcome most things round our house though I know many people wouldn’t like – hoping to get a bumble bee hive soon. I remember recommending a lavender to a customer for her balcony and mentioning that it would attract bees. She refused to buy it on those grounds. People are idiots

      8. When we moved into this house there were owls and dormice and bats living upstairs. They started to move out when we moved in probably because we were noisier than the old lady, we had two cats and a dog, and we had to put most of our belongings in the attic. There are still bats, but since husband put temporary shutters over the openings, the owls can’t get back in. Don’t know about the dormice, but the nest is empty and the cats spend a lot of time up there.
        People are stupid, you’re right. Your story puts me in mind of a wildlife forum I looked on about martens and some woman wanted advice as to what was scampering about in her attic. If it was rats, she was going to get the rat man in. The experts decided from the noises and the pictures she ‘just’ had a stone marten, which, they said was completely harmless, clean and would move out once its babies were ready to leave. The woman thanked them and said she’d had the rat man in to deal with it. The general opinion was disgust.

  1. Birds crying in the sky nearly always make me think of dreams. Not a specific dream but dreams themselves, the gifts of them. I wonder if the dreams have been frozen in the winter and now have the chance to thaw with birds and buds and rain to help them.

    The rhyme and rhythm make the sound of this a treat when read aloud.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s