April 12, 2019 Poetry , POETRY / FICTION

Seth Frantzman photo



Jane Dougherty




History lessons



Nothing changes.

Robotic brains create and annihilate


lion, horse, sparrow,

your wife, her husband, their children.

Lessons of history?

There are none to be learned.

History records not teaches;

we know what we do,

we revel in the blood of the other.

The fire that fell out of the sky still falls,

applauded by the same hands,

anointed by the same dogmas.

Man, the apocalypse,

Je Suis Cronus,

Uranus, Saturn,

parricides, infanticides

and so much blood,

these hands,

though the oceans they incarnadine,

will never be washed clean.









This morning the bird was dead.

It wasn’t damaged, not physically,

but the trauma of cat jaws clenched,

the inevitability of death

broke the slender thread.

There are birds everywhere,

no wings, no feathers, no dreams,

in camps,

crouching by dusty roadsides strafed by fire,

crouching in arid fields waiting to die.

We watch from afar,

screen interposed, and sigh,

sip a beer or a glass of Chardonnay,

slip on a new pair of Nikes

and jog a piece of the road

for the good of our clogged, fatty arteries.

We sprinkle a pious handful of earth

on the children’s heads,

close those too wide eyes with thoughts and prayers

and bury them in our thoughts

with the dead chaffinch.






Jane Dougherty

Jane Dougherty is Irish and lives in the middle of a meadow in southwest France. She writes novels, stories and poetry and has been published in journals and magazines including Ogham Stone, Hedgerow, Visual Verse, Eye to the Telescope and Lucent Dreaming. She blogs at https://janedougherty.wordpress.com/

Editor review

1 Comment

  1. Michael April 13, at 12:34

    So true, and a little bit pessimistic too. But really the humans/ some humans are not able to learn.


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