When will there not be anguish that curls

in restless coils in the deep dark of flesh,

never still, sleeping the sleep of cats?


When will the day just grow in its own time

at the pace of cloud and wind, not ticking

to the hollow rhythm of deadlines?


Sky spreads high blue, so dense it leaves

smears in the meadow; shadows beneath

the trees flicker with wings and fluttering songs.


No calm falls when the wind

blows, and the snake shifts,

and the clock ticks.


Only in sleep does it stop,

the nagging amorphous fear

of failure, unhappiness, disappointment;


only because we hope, is the edge always

just before our feet, the cliff yawning, and beneath,

the ocean pounding on grinning rocks.



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.

28 thoughts on “When?”

  1. I’m waiting for this time to come, too. Thank you for sharing your wonderful works as always Jane! More power to you 💛

    1. I’m pleased you like this. It’s the mood of the times, I think. We hope, we’re disappointed, we don’t know what’s coming next. Serenity is in dreams, I think.

      1. I agree Jane. You really have this magic that makes me look at the positive side of life 💛

  2. The “grinning rocks”–that’s ominous in just the right way. Sadly, the timeliness of your poem is also right. And reasonable. We are tired of “the hollow rhythm of headlines.” Only, as you say, in sleep is there relief. And we can hope for the human world to start turning better.

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