This poem is dedicated to my mother who died ten years ago. I was proud to be the daughter of this most compassionate, intelligent and graceful of women. She loved to see me write, because she knew that writing made me fly. She loved me unconditionally, and I try to emulate her.
Through dim lit, secret woodland
Unsnapped twigs beneath padded paws
As controlled muscles swell to fit their purpose.
I am the hunter, the killer
Of a million small animal fears.
In their flurry for food and fornication
Feather brained birds
Forget to fear me
Slyly I select one
And suddenly I spring.
Of panicked wings
Does not deter me.
In my way
I can fly too.
I capture the straggler
A puny morsel
But it satisfies my hunger
For blood and sport.
I saunter away
Spare energy assails me, and I run, climb, spin,
Chase my tail
Revelling in absurdity
Freeing the kitten within
Then langorously I stroll
Past bright sun cradled blooms
And warm stone walls
Into the cottage
Where under the withered eyes of obedient servants
© Jane Paterson Basil
I walk along the wooden bridge, my shoes sharp on the boards, my legs efficiently striding, businesslike. Stepping outside my body, to check myself over, I see a purposeful woman with dark brown hair, cut in an expensive bob. The pencil skirt kicks out slightly at the back, adding a feminine air to the boxy jacket. I nod slightly, satisfied with the sheen of success. I am steel, under the guise of linen.
At the middle of the bridge, I stop and look down into the shallow, slow flowing water. It was not always so. We used to come here on drowsy summer days long ago, to swim and gossip and make plans for our future, so far away.
I listen: there is no echo of our laughter. The others are all dead now. No doubt they have more recent enemies to haunt.
I am the sole survivor. Nobody alive hates or despises me for my subversive treachery. There are no whispers to taint my flawless reputation.
I notice a small stone lying at my feet, and kick it into the water. It splashes, and I watch the ripples as they circle outwards. They reflect inside me, uncomfortable and unwanted, tickling my gut and climbing to my chest, my heart.
I feel accusing fingers. They point at me. Perhaps the ghosts have settled themselves here after all.
© Jane Paterson Basil