“Kenmare River With Flowers” Oil Painting on stretched canvas by Jo-Anne Yelen

Three Poems Spell A Letter

– Poetry and Memoir by Jane Dougherty


Leaf scratches

The trees around the cottage
in the valley
bathed in birdsong
rain scratch cards
and the TV blares
fake glitter-dreams.
On the balcony
above the noisy street
a leaf falls
veined with red fire
and a grubby hand reaches out
in wonderment.

Stars in the beet field

From the fifth floor balcony
she stares through cross-hatched wires,
and the plucked strings of discordant music,
where babies crawl in unison,
silent and intent as crows in a cornfield.
she says, pointing with the glowing end of her cigarette,
where the bus goes, there go I.
One day.
Where yellow cornfields glow eternally
and the white-walled cottage calls.
I will have some peace there
The bus chugs out of sight
through blown clouds of calming smoke and starry eyes,
carrying faces tight and drawn,
glazed eyes that gloss the beet field ocean
abandoned car wrecks,
carrying them back
to dull rooms where babies crawl in unison
and where they will turn discordant music up loud
to fill the silence
of the furiously glowing cornfields.

Ways of seeing the cottage

On the hill there’s a cottage
from a magazine,
white, blue-shuttered,
amid bird-strung fields,
where peace falls in feathered veils,
and kestrels hang in holy grace.
In the cottage on the hill,
the sacred TV flame flickers
day and night,
and teeth grind at the glitter
that slips though hungry fingers,
drifts into the silent fields
and settles,
unseen diamonds,
in the wet grass.


Dear Jeffrey,


If your inbox is anything like mine, any mail that isn’t replied to immediately gets lost and forgotten.

Telling the story of the fire just has everyone rolling about in laughter, but it could have been disastrous. About 1.30 am the youngest came into our bedroom to say her bed was on fire. It took a minute or two for the penny to drop and we leapt. Her room was full of toxic smoke and when we threw the quilt off her bed the mattress burst into flames. Husband threw it out of the window, we gathered up all the smouldering and burning bedding and threw that out too, then he went out with a fire extinguisher to try and put out the flames. Meanwhile the whole house had filled up with this awful toxic smoke so we had to sleep with all the windows open to let it out, lock the cats in the veranda so they couldn’t escape, and let the dog sleep with us. 

It was her electric blanket. It was turned off but had obviously been smouldering for hours. She sleeps just underneath the hay loft…

Sneem is where my mother’s father dreamed of going back to, but he never did. I love it down there. My mother’s family was from County Meath and emigrated to England where I was brought up. My dad’s family were from County Donegal. They always wanted to go back home but never did. We children have moved on again so they may just as well have gone back. We’ve talked about it, almost did it but couldn’t afford it in the end. Likewise one of my sisters. She’s gone to Spain instead—warmer.


Looking forward,


– Jane

Jane Dougherty



Jane Dougherty is Irish, has lived in London, Paris and Bordeaux and now lives in (very) rural southwest France. She writes novels, short stories, very short stories and poetry, and has been published by Finch Books and in magazines and online journals including Ogham Stone, Lucent Dreaming, Eye to the Telescope, Hedgerow journal, the Bamboo Hut and Visual Verse.