Monthly Archives: February 2015



fluid serpentine river
moving ever forward
and yet so unchanging

wet stones uncomplaining
of the hurrying water
which smooths and erodes them
flowing towards a destination
beyond the bend

once it




a w a y

© Jane Paterson Basil

A Poorly written but Sincere Note of Thanks

A speedily – and badly – written poem of thanks to @benhuberman and the Writing 201 poetry course community.

Look! I’ve even included a loud image!

BeFunky_Thank you.jpg

you brought food for the brain
and such conversation
in the midst of all the acclamation
with never a word of condemnation
punctuating comments with exclamation
bringing about a recalculation
now I’ve finally come to the realization
that the hardest part of my journey is through
and this is my poem of thanks to you.

© Jane Paterson Basil

Do Not Look At Me

Today’s assignment for Writing 201 poetry Tomorrow / Sonnet / Chiasmus. I think I’ve cracked it! It’s about the future, it’s definitely a sonnet – my first – and it contains chiasmus. Yes!

I’m really sad that this is the last assignment of the course.


Avert your eyes, do not look at me today
I am not fully formed, I am not as I will be
If you look at me now you will only see
A tortured soul who has lost her way
If you look at me now I may always stay
Lost in these shadows I wish to flee
Never to live the life that’s written for me
Ever doomed to a future shrouded in grey
A shuffling figure clad in cast off shoes
So turn away quickly and turn away now
To watch me fail would be a cruel abuse
I will transform in secret if you will allow
Because to lose my way is my way to lose
So I turn to success, and success takes a bow

© Jane Paterson Basil


Here is today’s completed assignment for the Writing 201 poetry course. The requirements are Landscape / Found Poetry / Enumeratio


spring will creep in
from around the corner
waiting for the
to annouce its presence
amplify the visual splendor
of this rich earth

first buds appear
trees and shrubs spot with green
beneath them
sturdy stemmed grape hyacinths
sprout and bud into blue
first daffodils open
into welcoming gold-glistened

our spring-time hope is fulfilled
winter fades
and colour cascades over the land

© Jane Paterson Basil

Everlasting Flower

A little bit of romance is my choice for today’s Writing 201 Poetry assignment. It’s an ode about a valuable item tucked away in a drawer, with apostrophe garnish.


forty years have flown since I devotedly fixed it
to the wall by my bed,
near where my head rested
its physical form has long since crumbled
but tucked in a drawer
at the back of my brain

far away from the everyday forefront clutter
still lives that
rose in its organic glory

cupping our story within its proud petals
which whisper
within me when, in the night
insecurities imprison me, impinge on my sanity
and knowledge
of evil keeps me awake

I did not forsake you my rose of devotion
though our love was outlawed
I’ve been ever true

and though to eternity we shall be parted
and never again
may I see your face
all these long years our love everlasting
has cradled me safely
within its embrace

© Jane Paterson Basil

Plucking at Something

Here is my take on today’s assignment for the Writing 201 Poetry course: a prose poem about hands, incorporating assonance.


You come to my home uninvited, unnerving me, and although I’m uneasy I silence my tongue, because today your subdued air of submission gives me unaccustomed trust in you. I don’t want to shun you, my unravelled daughter, though my love seems redundant and unkindly used. The cuts and the bruises are ugly and telling, starvation and pallor are are hard to ignore. Your fingers are busily plucking at something under the rubbish in the hub of your bag

And now you are urging for news of your brother, a worrying subject, for one so unwell. I have nothing but good news, which shouldn’t unhinge you but unhealthy thoughts could worry your skull. I plunge the memory of our last discussion under my consciousness as must be done.

He walked out of prison anxious and wary, he was clad in mis-matched minimal garb, because everything he had worn upon entry was already filthy and ripped and marred.His feelings were mixed as he breathed semi-freedom at the side of his case-worker and walked to the car, because under the fear of a failure at freedom, was excitement at the thought of the fun he cound have.

(From under subversive eyelashes I watch you, and see my reluctance was undeserved. You unreservedly absorb every morsel; your abundant joy is undisguised. But still unremitting your fingers keep picking, plucking at something inside your bag.)

When he arrived at the re-hab the staff and residents all reached out a welcoming hand. He was overwhelmed by strange emotions and the push and the pull of feelings within. But he knew that very soon he would settle to a new routine in this friendly regime. He was longing to see his sisters and nephews and for trips to the city during weekends. When we visited him there within hours of his entry we brought him fresh clean jeans and tee shirts, and it was easy to see that he was intending to be a good brother and uncle and son.

I conclude my tale by re-asserting how pleased I am and how terribly proud. I re-assure you of his desire to see you, as soon as an appropriate day is arranged.

And although your fingers still pluck and worry at whatever is lurking inside your bag, I can see that you needed some news of your brother, and maybe his freedom will help you get well.

© Jane Paterson Basil

Mr Bunce, My Hero

Here is – loosely speaking – today’s assignment for Writing 201 Poetry. It is supposed to be a ballad about my hero, and should include anaphora or epistrophe – repetition of words or bundles of words at the beginning or end of lines. This is what, unexpectedly, came out of my word-processor.
image (modified) from

He was a teacher amongst men
A God amongst teachers

That day we saw him for the first time,
walking along the corridor towards us in low-slung mustard coloured trousers of a style that no teacher had ever before dared to wear, a shirt that must have been designed that morning and
a belt
a belt of leather
a belt of leather with a big shiny buckle.
we didn’t think we had to
all line up neatly outside the classroom for this fashionista
who couldn’t be a teacher, wearing
a belt of leather with a big shiny buckle.

In the English classroom I soon learned:

as he rolled up his sleeves to get down to business;
that the veins on his arms stood out

as he asked our names and examined our
faces in order to remember who we all were;
that his eyes popped slightly

as he hunched up one leg, and placed his
foot on the desk where he sat;
that his socks toned perfectly with his trousers

as he walked around the classroom, unable to
stay still for long because his subject thrilled him so,
that I could see my face in his big shiny buckle

as he treated us all with respect, and quickly gained our respect,
that he was a born teacher

as he turned his attention to me
that he was beautiful

The day he lit indoor fireworks for us to study and describe
he set the waste-paper bin on fire

and my half formed heart burned for him;
yearned for a coming-of-age

My friend cried sometimes at break times, wailing that she wept herself to sleep over
her unrequited love for Davy Jones
pretty little lead singer of the Monkees

“hey hey,” I wanted to whisper
“I got something to say. I’m in love with Mr Bunce.”

He led us outside on warm days to show us what outside really looked and sounded like, and it looked and sounded different when he was there.
He read us nature poems and they came alive just for him.

Sometimes on cold days when there was no spare classroom, we walked from the youth hut in the school grounds, to the crush hall, to the canteen, and then to the assembly room, finding that everywhere was in use, so we would finally settle ourselves on the floor of the stage, with a backdrop of stored musical instruments.

I could have walked with him forever.

I was his top student. He gave me B+ while others got A’s, because he knew they were doing their best, but that the next piece I wrote would be better than my last. But the one time that I surpassed even his expectations
he gave me an A+ for exceptional work.

A stood for all right
B was better
A+ was amazing

He asked me, and only me, to give him copies of my writings for him to keep. A friend typed them out for me.

I took them home, and furtively I
pressed my lips to every page.

I waited shyly after class, and handed the wad of paper to him. It was neatly stapled together into a book. I was dazzled by his shiny buckle, as I looked at my face in it.

I was twelve years old and had no
interest in life below the buckle

He spoke to me of words, and as he did so, he leaned back and placed his hands behind his head.
My eyes were drawn to a dark patch in the hollow of his arm. As I stared, he became discomfitted. His left hand flew protectively to hide the perspiration, and he said:
“I’m sorry… I’m… I…”

It was our most intimate moment.
I wanted to place my dizzy head in his
armpit, and feel the damp warmth.

once when we were on a classroom hunt a gaggle of sixth form girls trashed past us wearing their navy uniforms like ladies of the night, and one boldly asked him if he was going to be at the disco on Saturday.
Inside I raged with jealousy although I knew he would never behave incorrectly.

I wanted to be so bold, so old,
I wanted him to dance me into
a storybook of my making.

He taught me to be a polish refugee when I had to write a war time story.
to be a night-prowling cat called Blanche
to be an old man, waiting to be taken to a care home.
He taught me to write as I had never written before.

He knew that it didn’t matter what passion drove me to write better than ever before;
only the words mattered.

© Jane Paterson Basil

Limmurik abowt a bloak


This is my poem for the silliest challenge I have seen so far on WordPress. I couldn’t resist it. I think I’m entering it a bit late, but as the theme is poetic disobedience, I think it’s ok to be late.

The Challenge: Write a poem that should be a silly wurst spelled poem today and death to a silly limerick by night. You can find it at

Their wunse wos sum yung bloak form Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateapokaiwhenuakitanatahu
hoo cudunt spel hiz hoam toun
and soe hee moovd owt
and wondurd about
thenn hee sett upp hiz hoam in Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch

© Jane Paterson Basil

Remember. By Christina Georgina Rossetti

This is one of my favourite poems, which I recited at my mother’s funeral. She was also a poet, albeit a very private one. Her words have all been lost, but her thoughts and ideas remain with me. When I read this poem, I remember her gentleness and beauty, and I see her turning towards me in a graceful ballet.


Remember me when I am gone away,

Gone far away into the silent land;

When you can no more hold me by the hand,

Nor I half turn to go yet turning stay.

Remember me when no more day by day

You tell me of our future that you plann’d:

Only remember me; you understand

It will be late to counsel then or pray.

Yet if you should forget me for a while

And afterwards remember, do not grieve:

For if the darkness and corruption leave

A vestige of the thoughts that once I had,

Better by far you should forget and smile

Than that you should remember and be sad.

New-born Day

This is my post for today’s Writing 2201 Poetry assignment. The required them is ‘Fog, and is is an Elegy which is meant to include metaphor. I think I slipped up a bit on the metaphor today. While I initially wanted to fulfil the requirement, I felt that it was a story which required a simple tone. I’ll try to make up for my omission in a later poem.

I haven’t written anything like this for a while If it fails to impress, a can only apologise. Perhaps it is a good poem, or perhaps it belongs in the bin. I will have no idea unless you tell me.


“Oh Mummy the fields are so fragrant today
a warm breeze ruffles the fresh-cut hay
and caresses my face as I’m laying in bed
it’s a new-born day oh Mummy,” she said

“Oh mummy the church bells are chiming for me
I can hear the notes as clear as can be
my heart’s full of feathers, I’ve smiles in my head
it’s a lovely day oh Mummy,” she said.

“Oh Mummy I’ve got almost everything here
music and sunshine fill me with cheer
but I feel a little lonely as I lie in this bed
oh Mummy I want my doll,” she said

All around me the kindness of sweet bouquets
with fragrance drawn out by summer haze
cluttered the room around the hospital bed
“Oh Mummy I want to get up,” she said

Through shrivelling misery I held my smile
and gently suggested that she rest awhile
at the sound of my voice her eyes filled with dread
“What have you done with my Mummy,” she said

Shaking she drew the sheet over her chest
a frightened beast with a terrifying guest
gnarled claw clutching her grey downed head
“Grandma, I wish you knew me,” I said

As I backed far away to allay her fears
my throat constricted with unshed tears
while a nurse slipped in with silent tread
“I can take over now,” she said

As I left the room I heard grandma say
“Who was that lady who came today?
where is my Mummy? Where is my doll?”
and she spoke to the tune of the church bell’s toll.

© Jane Paterson Basil