What if


What if the only thing I had,
the only remnant of a fraying past, that I
with parsimonious fingers bind, was the
bright, unravelling weft the heavens
loosed; would I remember how embroidered
gold and silver were the cloths
we wrapped our precious dreams about?

What if the picture in my head, enwrought
volutes of lily tresses, and with
stars entwined, forgets your golden
face, the look your eyes had then and
how love brushed night shadows silver
in the moon’s cool light?

Would I still be me if you were no more
than downy scraps caught among the roses
the sad cold remnants of the nest the robins left?

There are never answers to be found
on this side of the veil,
and beyond, questions no longer matter.


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.

25 thoughts on “What if”

  1. Merril stole my adjective. I love this poem.. and the painting that accompanies it. You have told me before who the artist is but I’ve forgotten. Well done all around.

    1. Thank you, Judy 🙂 It took me a while to fit the Yeats lines in but I’m pleased with the result.
      The painter is Odilon Redon. He was from Bordeaux, my adopted home (one of them) and I love his work. They are all so happy and full of mystery, but cheerful, beautiful mystery.

  2. Your words and Redon are always a potent combination. And then add Yeats…

    We are definitely who we are because of who is in our lives. But your last two lines capture the truth beneath it all. (K)

    1. Thanks. It’s a hard notion to come to terms with, like drifting in space, which is why I suppose it’s a lot easier to say, oh, I believe in an afterlife. Then you can stop wondering what it’s like to be nothing.

      1. Best to clear everything out well before you think of leaving so the ones left behind don’t have to wade through too much rubbish or find anything embarrassing. Or not. There comes a time when we have to stop worrying about everything and everyone.

      2. I do feel that way. Once I get things out of storage there will be a major purging. I just need to hang on long enough to get to that point.

      3. True enough. Just let the girls call in the dumpster. Although younger daughter told me she would take care of my art, whatever that means…

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