A sort of sonnet for dverse.


Once there were lovers though not loves that last,
the sentimental soppiness of youth.
Once there was Romance with a capital R
and words that said more than ever they meant.
What we want most of all is what few of us find,
the sailing and sunsets, fingers entwined,
how we searched for the glossy, the magazine love,
when we were green shoots, when the world was begun.
I don’t wish that Iโ€™d settled for Valentineโ€™s cards,
for candle-lit suppers, a bright shiny ring,
nor ask is this heart-swell in quiet of night,
enough to fill skies and oceans of years.
This love that I hold in the crook of my arm,
is enough to build mountains, dry oceans of tears.


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.

39 thoughts on “Once”

  1. I love the volta here, Jane. There’s such a tone of cynicism, and then the sudden reminder that love might not look like the magazines tell us, but that it is so important. I like the switch from “romance” to motherhood.

  2. Superb…such work goes into composing a sonnet like this, and it flows…really like the way you put your foot down, made the statements against the plastic glosssy magazine version of love and reaching deeper..

    1. Thank you! This non-rhyming form with quite a loose interpretation of the structure and metre is an awful lot easier than a ‘proper’ sonnet!
      Yes, the Disney sanitised fairy tales have a lot to answer for ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. I agree with what all the other have said. Beautiful poetry and well-written, but also, true. There are the Hallmark cards and magazine images, but true love is different. Perfect volta, beautiful final line.

    1. Thank you ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s frightening when you think of the image of ‘true love’ that’s shoved at adolescents. We’d probably all have fallen for it if things like school and parents hadn’t got in the way!

  4. Even I,who knows very little about love, find myself agreeing with you, for it ain’t the rings,or elegant suppers, or presents that is part of true love. Beautiful! ๐Ÿ™‚

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