I belong

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Back in the day
when rural communities remained the same~
each fading generation fast replaced
by a fresh one with the same faces ~

back when everyone we met down the lane was related ~

and it was risky
to whisper ill remarks to the farmer to our right
about the blacksmith up the road
since they were inevitably cousins or in-laws —

back then I was a foreigner.

D-i-f-f-e-r-e-n-t.

One that didn’t belong.

Since then the world has moved on,
sweeping city folk along the motorways,
taking them to new places
to taste a rural idyll.

The old is razed to the ground,
replaced by the new,
which is raised wherever space and Council permits.

The hills now abound with new builds,
their walls concealing:

frail furniture~funky fashion~thrifty finds~fading finery~
fleecy throws~festive flowers~fluttering fragrance~furry friends~
fresh fruit~fried fish~fast food~Tesco Finest~fine lines~finer feelings~
flat feet~futile fights~furtive faces~funny facts~fortuitous fortune~
fandangos~fripperies~flounces and frills~
and
so-called foreign folk from the cities

though these days few of us notice the difference
and only the fools disapprove,

while I, conceived in the distant smoke
but born in this county over sixty years ago,
walk jauntily down the road in this town
and am finally known
as a local.

I belong.

~o~

The Daily Post #Local

©Jane Paterson Basil

Chocolate

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.

I like

chocolate buns;

chocolate pudding; chocolate mousse;

chocolate cup cakes; chocolate fudge cake; chocolate cheesecake;

strong hot chocolate with full fat milk, a spoonful of coffee, another of cocoa, extra sugar to take the bitterness away, a few squares of chocolate melted into it, topped off with swirls of cream and finished with a generous helping of grated chocolate;

anything that contains the words, “chocolate” and “double”;

or better still, the words, “chocolate” and “triple”;

or simply the one word, “chocolate;

and chocolate, chocolate,

chocolate.

chocolate5

A guitar-playing, rainbow-winged, triple-tailed red kitten
flies around my kitchen, whispering:

“Fat is an illusion”,
in sing-song rhythm to the strumming of his strings,

but much as I would like to trust him,
I know the truth;

The cat is an illusion.

The fish-tailed, pixie nosed, six-legged, twin-horned pink unicorn
that swims in my sink
told me so,

and
he wanted me to know
that chocolate is slimming.

Fish-tailed,
pixie nosed, six-legged,
twin-horned pink unicorns
generally tell the truth,

so I believe him.

chocolate5

The Daily Post #Illusion

©Jane Paterson Basil

Both Sour and Sweet

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A cheerful fiction with flying reindeer,
sliding down chimneys with his sack of Christmas gifts;

bright.Northern lights, rippling in the night,

the tooth fairy; the Easter bunny;

the saccharin flavour of pink on innocent tongue;

a clown with funny face and bag of magic tricks;

a shimmering desert oasis;

reflections in a lake;

the crinkle around his eyes, carefully selected from a collection of weapons of deceit, marked .“Intimacy, Sincerity”, artfully donned, aimed swiftly at you or me; his inflated self image and frail imitation of Casanova, Errol Flynn, Lord Byron;

all illusion, shrinking fantasy,

sleight of hand,

pretty accidents and angled lies both sour and sweet
to make us smile, behave or gently sleep,

or to take control…

and occasionally

to try to steal our soul.

.

The Daily Post #Illusion

©Jane Paterson Basil

A Silvered Shadow

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.

Night follows day,
giving way to night, then day, then night again.
Weeks pass, months speed away, swift as driving rain.
My mind drifts along yesterday’s empty plan
as I trip through the weight of today.

Gone are those fast forever summer games
we played around ponderously ticking clocks;
their tocks now sprint to fling each moment into history.
Ice cream dreams will me to childhood archives,
pulling out threads of longing that stretch,
yet fail to breach the barrier of years.

I see sparks of sunlight dancing on the river,
yet cannot feel a floury hand of love upon my back.
I see drowning pups beneath the water,
but cannot reach to pull them from the sack.
A silvered shadow flitters through the meadow
to stand beneath a wide-branched tree.
The shadow climbs as I stand watching
an airy ghost of who I used to be.

I see her every day, this little wraith;
spinning down her emerald path toward the tree,
and for minutes every day, I try to feel the grazing bark upon my knee,
to feel her heart beat, be a part of her, just as she’s a part of me,
and to ascertain that she’s as free
as she and I pretend to be.

As I trip through the weight of today,
my mind drifts along yesterday’s empty plan.
Weeks pass, months speed away, swift as driving rain,
night follows day, giving in to night, then day,
then night descends again.

<> <> <>

©Jane Paterson Basil

Addiction,Recovery, Relapse

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Addiction, recovery, relapse; it’s a loop which grips you like a noose. That first step to recovery is painful and frightening. Many addicts are in two minds about it when they take the first step, so it comes to nothing; in no time they are back on the street scoring. It’s claimed that you have to hit rock bottom before you’re ready for recovery, but rock bottom can be an awfully long way down, with untold dangers on the way.

It’s unusual for an addict to go into permanent recovery at the first attempt. They often get into that familiar pattern: addiction, recovery, relapse, addiction, recovery, relapse. This is traumatising for everyone who cares. Each time the addict relapses they are at high risk of overdose, as their tolerance for the drug has gone down. Family and friends often give up on the addict, but they need to know that with every attempt, there is more chance of success, just as every time a learner driver takes a driving test, they are more likely to pass.

So, addiction, recovery, relapse is a loop which grips you like a noose, but a noose can be untied. The circle can be broken, placing the addict in permanent recovery, though only time can tell if this has occurred.

Addicts get clean every day, and stay clean for the rest of their lives. Some of them go on to work tirelessly to support other addicts through recovery, though their hearts may be torn over and over again. I have great admiration for all recovering addicts.

Today, I pay tribute to recovered addicts everywhere; in particular, two brave young women who will remain nameless (it’s enough that they know who they are); a local man called Jimmy, who has become an inspiration to many in this town; Adam, at the Bideford Lighthouse project, and, of course, my daughter Laura.

I live in hope that I may add my son’s name to this list at some point.

With Grateful thanks to Sumyanna, whose thoughtful suggestion has given me new hope, and who may be pleased to learn that she inspired this post.

The Daily Post #Loop

©Jane Paterson Basil