With hand held tight

A folly poem for the dverse prompt.


She took his hand and led him to
the balustrade of palest stone,
as smooth as pebbles ground by tides,
cradled by the waves and rolled
in sand, the dust of stolen pearls.

He took her hand and followed where
the waves crashed on the cliff below,
and stars shone cold and bright above.
She took his hand and held it tight,
as folly danced among the waves.

Her hand held tight above the din
of breakers on the cliff below,
he whispered words that neither heard;
though starlight crowded all about,
they leapt for all was black despair.


I hope you don’t mind me turning this into a propaganda post, but today I published my first collection of poetry, a chapbook thicker than water and I am so pleased with myself! I won’t leave mercantile links here, but you can get them from this blog post.

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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 “With hand held tight”

  1. Sometimes there is nothing else to be done. I could hear the crashing surf below and see their sea misted faces with his lips moving. You make the tragedy fresh in your telling. Folly strutting itself all over the place in this.

    Congratulations on your published work!!!!!!! Way to go!

  2. Very beautifully dark.

    “Her hand held tight above the din
    of breakers on the cliff below,
    he whispered words that neither heard;
    though starlight crowded all about,
    they leapt for all was black despair.”

    I too went for the falling off the cliff ending in my own piece. It’s really something seeing that temple so close to the edge and paired with the limited background between the Earl-Bishop and Frideswide, I just think it has to end with darkness. A leap of despair, if you will.

    You entwine these themes eloquently, as you always do. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Fantastic work on this piece, it’s quite an enjoyable read.

  3. This is so sad and so beautiful–and tender, too, in the hand holding and whispers.
    The feeling, though not the setting, makes me think of the movie Cold War–and I suppose every couple caught in some impossible situation.

  4. have not been to see the sea in two years. your poem took me there
    i hope not to get to the point of jumping before i see the sea again.
    your peice covers this darkness with dignity.
    thank you

  5. Many many hearty congratulations, Jane ๐Ÿ’ This is spine-tingling and dark to the point of perfection.

  6. Congratulations! Not a day for a suicide pact perhaps, but evocatively written.
    ‘though starlight crowded all about,
    they leapt for all was black despair.’
    I can sense the all encompassing night taking them away. Well done.

  7. Firstly, congratulations on the chapbook โ€“ I started dipping into it yesterday and canโ€™t wait to find a quiet time to read some more. Now to focus on the folly ballad, which is tragic and beautiful, Jane. I enjoyed the sumptuousness of the simile:
    โ€˜as smooth as pebbles ground by tides,
    cradled by the waves and rolled
    in sand, the dust of stolen pearlsโ€™
    and the stunning contrast of:
    โ€˜though starlight crowded all about,
    they leapt for all was black despair.โ€™

  8. Suicide seems rife with folly. Of course, as they say, there are always exceptions…but not that many I think. The way you have painted it, too, reflects the romantic aura it has, especially for the young.
    I don’t have a kindle, nor do I like reading books digitally, so I’ll have to wait for Amazon to snail mail it to me. Something to look forward to on a winter’s day. (K)

    1. Young people seem very tempted by the big gesture. Maybe one reason why so many of them are herded into petrol bomb-slinging, fire-lighting mobs by terrorist groups.
      I dislike the kindle too. It’s a nasty-looking object and so awkward if you want to go back a few pages or chapters to check something.

  9. The repetition of hand holding made me think there wouldnโ€™t be a happy ending, the repetition was mesmerising and I almost felt like I was jumping with them.

    And… congratulations on your launch!

  10. Oh Em Gee Jane, this may be the first recount of suicide that can be called lovely, all those sad. Well written. The arthritis in my fingers has led me to making comments using Siri to transcribe my spoken word to typed words. I love what Siri did to the beginning of this comment if you read it I think youโ€™ll understand I was trying to say Capital oh capital MG. Oh hell, I give up! ๐Ÿ™‚

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