April poetry challenge day 14

This poem, for Paul Brookes’ poetry challenge was inspired by all three poems. You can see the images and read the poems here. I’m reproducing Kerfe’s because it’s so arresting.

KR14_shadow people_wombwell


On the edge of every town
there’s a derelict place,
where the wildflowers grow
among tumbled stones
of an industry long dead
and a past we’ve all forgot.

And among the peaceful stones
where the wildflowers blow,
in the arches still left standing
where trams once slept,
or where rail tracks crossed the river
where stevedores barked,
are encampments of the outcasts
where the shadow people live.

On the edge of every town,
at the end of every tether,
at the back of every mind,
and the limit of its patience,

is a mired misunderstanding
on both sides, and the outcome
is, instead of peace and wildflowers,
grow the burning seeds of hatred.

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.

19 thoughts on “April poetry challenge day 14”

      1. Yes, me too. There is so much character, patina; as well as nature making its way back in between the spaces of it all. Yes, I agree. Beautiful poem Jane. 🙏

  1. It is so well written, Jane! And yes, I agree. Hatred and violence often have deep-seated causes coming from decades and sometimes centuries of misunderstanding. You cannot cure ills if you don’t dive deep into them.

  2. This made me think of 9/11, and how I always thought instead of building another glass monolith they should have just left nature to do as it would with the space. That would have been a much better tribute to the lives lost–the real regeneration of life. But, as you say, too much mired misunderstanding in every direction. (K)

    1. With a glass monolith someone can claim the credit. Leave a space to go wild and you’d just get complaints, rubbish, rats, untidiness. I agree though, if we could trust people not to behave like savages, a peaceful bit of regeneration would have been ideal.

      1. That’s so true–I know, it would be a repository of trash by now, because, well, that’s what humans do. Savages have much better manners than modern man.

      2. True. Sauvage in the French meaning is so much closer. It’s how you would describe a dog, a cat, a child even who is wary and keeps their distance. It’s not disparaging. In English it’s much more insulting.

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