A message written on the back of a shopping list, only a little scorched at the edges, that lines a blackbird’s nest in the ruins of the world

A poem of repetitions. What we are good at.

A message written on the back of a shopping list, only a little scorched at the edges, that lines a blackbird’s nest in the ruins of the world

If I could choose the way the days fall out,
with gentle sighs or noisy laughter till we can no more,

if I could choose the way the fists are flung,
not here, against a wall perhaps, but not into soft flesh,

If I could choose the way you work at school (or not),
the path your job will take, financial ease,

I’d choose what I think’s for the best
and hope that I’m not wrong.

If I could choose to stop the clocks that tick the seconds
to the end, the brink, the tipping point,

if I could choose the path, the green and peaceful path,
I’d ask the wild things to share its secret ways,

and I’d choose to take us there and hold you in my arms
(the palm of my hand too small for such a crowd),

with all the love of vixen, strength of badger,
the single-mindedness of blackbirds,

and when there are no more choices, and we have to fall,
I will choose to fall with you.

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.

28 thoughts on “A message written on the back of a shopping list, only a little scorched at the edges, that lines a blackbird’s nest in the ruins of the world”

      1. The description is the easy bit. You just write what you see, and only edited highlights or readers get bored. The hard part is making a scene real, and you do that.

      2. Then you’re probably using too many read-made images. Try writing the same thing without the adjectives. Strip it down to the essentials and when you add an image ask yourself is it what you think or is it an automatic thought, like did you really go tomato-coloured? Have a go. You have such a good ear, I’m willing to bet you could hear the clichés and rip them out.

      3. Well, you’re a Dub, aren’t you? So you would. If you were writing as Marie Antoinette or the Marchioness of Devonshire you probably wouldn’t 🙂

        Have a go. It’s not as if you’ve got a death sentence riding on it.

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