night talk


all day long the thrushes sing

and in the night the owls

play ghost with one another

among the swaying trees


beneath the cold stars winking

their feathery tremolo rolls

and bright-eyed mice count frightened

heartbeats hard as sunflower seeds


among damp night stalks trembling

foxes walk and badgers growl

while I listen to the moonlight-

darkened voices of the wild


breathe the musky scent of tree bark

and the rolling dewy grasses

where they walk and we would follow

ghosts all in the dusky night


A poem I wrote today and have finished up for the dverse prompt.

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.

56 thoughts on “night talk”

      1. I know! Jeffers really pegged a great question. Random things can happen that are useless, like sinuses or the appendix, but I am glad when they are beautiful, like the inside of shells or the sounds interrupting quiet dark on your acres.

      2. One of the reasons I get so irritated when people post photoshopped images of sunsets or gardens full of outlandishly coloured flowers. The response is usually, how gorgeous, beautiful etc etc. As if it’s an improvement on nature, the real thing not being ‘gorgeous’ enough.

  1. Night sounds–talk, as you say–the wings of owls, the heartbeats of mice. Beautiful and ominous. Magic and real.

    With relatively few words (great words), you give us night, introduced by day, as is.

    1. It’s pretty quiet here all the time, but the sounds are natural, mainly birds. As the day slips into night, the birds shut up (except for the owls) but the animals stir and they can be quite as noisy as the birds.

  2. This is my kind of night talk, Jane, birds and ghosts. I love the bright-eyed mice counting ‘frightened heartbeats hard as sunflower seeds’ and almost inhaled the ‘musky scent of tree bark and the rolling dewy grasses’.

  3. Jane, I so love it when you write about nature…your imagery and description is absolutely wonderful. I most especially like these words in this post
    “and bright-eyed mice count frightened
    heartbeats hard as sunflower seeds”
    …and those ghostly owls.

  4. You are a brave lady to take night walks; liked the line /in the night the owls play ghost with one another/. Do you use a flashlight?

  5. I loved that line about the owls playing ghost with one another too but there are so many beautifully descriptive lines that show us clearly what’s going on in nature after dark. Your title is great too!
    Gayle ~

      1. I do, too, Jane. There is one white owl I’ve only seen once in 18 years. My friend has seen it twice and my across the street neighbor just told me yesterday that they have seen it as well. There is a hoot owl I used to hear all the time but now just hear once or twice a year. Where do they go, I wonder and why do they come just at certain times? Next to my dogs howling in accompaniment to sirens, an owl hoot is the loneliest, most lovely sound.

      2. We see barn owls occasionally, and they look like ghosts, silent and pale, and they have a chilling scream. I love the tawny owls though, the whoooooo owls. I suppose they move around looking for food, and since they’re territorial, you don’t get flocks of them ever 🙂

  6. This poem took my breath away. I love listening to the owls hoot at night, but the idea of them “playing ghost with each other,” takes it to another level, as the heartbeat of mice beat hard and as fast as sunflower seeds. Just. Amazing.

    1. I’m pleased you liked this piece! I understand so little of the life around me, but I listen and try to learn. The night is full of mysterious noises, and some of them, we can only speculate about.

  7. i loved visiting you through the poem and all across your words, you take me deep into your surroundings and I feel I am almost touching those ghostly owls playing hide and seek among the swaying trees

  8. This is really beautiful, Jane. I agree with everyone else has already said. The owls playing ghosts, the heartbeats of the mice. . .I liked the comment about lush and austere.
    It’s so different here where we have streetlights, houselights, and traffic. We live in a pretty quiet neighborhood, but last night some boys were yelling and they had a car with the bass blaring so loud it seemed like everything was vibrating.

    1. It will be difficult moving into the city for the winter which is what we’re probably going to have to do. The dark is something I’ve got used to and the silence. Much as I’d like to, if I had to survive in a natural environment, I wouldn’t.

      1. There’s no way to heat this place or to keep out the damp regardless of how much money we were to throw at it. It was intended to be heated by the cattle in the barn, which is why there’s a big door opening from the kitchen straight into the cow shed. We need a house that keeps out the cold for the winter, but we’ll keep this place. It isn’t as though anybody else would want to live here 🙂 Another adventure on the horizon.

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