When the stalk is cut the head falls

seed spills sun bakes

no rain falls—the sky


the sky throbs brazen bare

bird-hush settles

on the mown scars


and yet and yet


it creeps back life

in green and yellow pink and blue

and white


white sea froth

butterfly-dancing beneath

the throbbing brazen sky


and we do creep back

rise up with heads thrown back

make another fine show


beneath the indifferent sky

bobbing on the great dry

white-frothed sea.

meadow froth


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.

40 thoughts on “Froth”

    1. Thanks. I’ve used Ralan before, sent off a story to a couple of likely looking ones with a mythological story. They both rejected it with a lot of huffing and we don’t publish that kind of violent stuff. I said, look it’s mythology, I didn’t invent the rape scene, but they seemed to think that myth should be antiseptic and ‘nice’. I got the link to Heroic Fantasy Review from this listing.

      1. The same happened to my Greek friend who’s terrific at rewriting myths and legends. Last time when she was rejected, editors said they were afraid the readers might think they are promoting rape and suicide. She said, I’m losing it, asked me to read it, so I did.
        The story was absolutely brilliant, and nb killed themselves. Yes, it’s violent at times, but so are Greek myths. Besides, it’s not that stupid, shallow violence for the sake of violence we get to read in some mags.

        Scary little mice, that’s all I can say.

      2. Editors are too afraid of treading on toes, offending people. They may as well write the stories themselves since they seem to know exactly what they want the stories to contain.

      3. And from what I’ve seen lately it’s an exchange between editors. You published me, I’ll publish you. The whole last issue of a popular mag was shared among different editors and assistant editors.

      4. I think a lot of on-line magazines are like that, a show case for a handful of friends. They take turns putting it together, but the end result is the same people turn up every issue. There’ s magazine that takes the biscuit though, and it’s been recommended by a blogging poetry group. Not only do they not pay for the poems they publish, you have to pay to submit, a fee for each poem., and then they make a mag that they sell! No royalties to the poets, needless to say. It’s a pay to play, vanity publishing exercise. How people can be so gullible…

      5. They have digressive rates depending on how many poems you send in. The pretence is that they judge them on their merits when deciding which to publish. If you believe that you really are deluded.

      6. When you give your work away you have to get some benefit from it. If a magazine is claiming to have such a wide readership you’ll get tremendous exposure, why can’t they pay for what they publish? I’ve never had any come back whatsoever from being published in a freebie.

      7. It’s sad. Only one jounal was fair enough to send me the copy of the issue. Free of charge. They said, that’s the least we could do.
        They are a nice bunch of people and I love the stuff they publish. It’s called The Opiate.

      8. That’s fair. They can’t make much money ever, (except the ones that charge a reading fee) unless it’s through advertising, so sending out a copy probably stretches their budget far enough. I’ll look them up.

      9. Thanks! I’d forgotten about them. I’ve looked them up once or twice but you have to write to a theme and I’ve never liked the ones they choose. I’ll check them out again though.

  1. Snap! I took similar photos last Sunday! It’s amazing how similar and yet how different our landscapes are. The opening line describes the scene quite violently: ‘When the stalk is cut the head falls’ reminds me of a guillotine; and the heat is palpable, baking and throbbing. I love the way the whole poem pivots on the isolated ‘and yet and yet’, which is just like a bird singing. The final stanzas are a breath of fresh air.

    1. Thanks Kim 🙂 Most farmland of the same scale looks similar, I think, just drier or lusher. and the crops since they’re irrigated usually disguise those differences. Here it’s small scale, to very small scale. This property was only ever four hectares, a half dozen cows, a vegetable plot, a vine, a few pigs and a brief attempt about sixty years ago at growing a bit of tobacco. It’s bitty, patchy with a lot of set aside and meadow, much of which isn’t even mown now as there are so few cattle here now.

  2. A beautiful poem Jane. I love the round bales in the field that is now wait to come back;
    and we do creep back
    rise up with heads thrown back
    make another fine show

    I am more than ready for another fine show!!

  3. The depiction of life coming back is comforting. First with color, then with “heads thrown back.” A defiant return perhaps in spite of “the indifferent sky.”

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