In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Just a Dream.”

This poem describes a recurring nightmare I used to have.


They’re crawling at speed

and my leaden feet

are letting me down

while their chemical needs

fill their minds with treason

which blinds them to reason

and feeds them with fervour,

making them faster than me.

As they chase me

the weight of the air all around

is pressing me down

and all I can hear is

the sound of my fear;

my laboured panting

and heart-beat pounding

as it tries to escape through my ears.

The end of the alley is darkly looming

and I see no escape

from death’s grinning face

as the figures draw nearer

disturbing the air with their

fetid breath and their skin-flaying cries.

And then I see three doors before me,

and hope of escape

floods through my veins,

bringing adrenalin forth in its wake

to help me select

the correct door to take.

The first one is fakely fashioned and fancy,

foolishly aping the noble oak’s grain

The second is painted in pink plastic gloss,

and I know that an entry would offer no gain

the one that I choose

is ancient and flaking

and chipped, with the dust

of long years overlain

I grab at the handle,

it opens with ease and

welcomes me in

then ceases to be.

It’s served its purpose

and sealed me safely

away from the drug crazed,

desparate faces

that sink from my mind

as I survey this place.

Before me a corridor stretches and curves

and the walls are constructed

from industrial shelves

with broad sheets of metal

which tower around me,

above me so high I can’t see the ceiling,

and the shelves are stacked

with miriad treasures and trash

and boxes and cases of leather.

Though I feel a desire to stop and examine

the curious curio stacked all about,

I know I must hurry and find an exit

as the grumble of thunder

is crumbling the ceiling

and pieces of plaster

are dropping on me.

While I am racing

to find an escape route

I see that the treasure is all from my past.

The bagatelle board

that I loved as a child

is tucked at the back

behind an old dress

and further along looking

fresh and un-used

is a bottle of perfume I lost long ago.

There are dolls and fossils

and fairy tale stories

and memories of glorious days in the sun.

And preserved

in this heart-space I finally find

the fetish that’s held me

through all these years.

It was lost in the dust of

a moment of absence;

a rose from my lover so long ago.

Now the rain is seeping

and soaking the ceiling,

damping and swamping all that I was.

I redouble my hunt

to discover an exit,

and as I am running

I hear my possessions

collapsing and crashing

through the floor,

Then I turn the next bend

and I see the old door

which welcomes me warmly

so I quickly step through,

onto a platform

with the sky overhead

and a drop deep beneath me.

If I fall I’ll be dead

but the platform leads

to the top of a stone wall

where I will be safe

from destruction and death

I step from the platform

onto the surface of the wall so tall

and high above ground.

Surrounded by sun

in the wake of the storm

the place I have left growls

with ground-shaking sounds

as mortar is beaten

by deep-seated moisture,

subversively slipping its devilish drops

into my heart-space,

and breaking it down.

The building collapses,

and within it my history.

The bagatelle board,

the perfume, the rose,

are swallowed up

as the ground beneath opens,

covers, encloses them

leaving no trace of the past behind

Now looking around me all I can see

is a deep flooded landscape

with the tops of some trees

which remain bravely standing

with their trunks in deep water,

awaiting the moment

when their roots will lose hold.

And now I know

if you run from the danger,

you lose all of the good things

both hidden and clear.

They come as a package,

a mistery gift

in rainbow ribbon

soaked through with tears.


I awoke from this nightmare

and wished that the darkness

had eaten me whole

and left my shell,

to let others know

that I’d finished this lifespan,

my life on this earth

which seemed more like hell.

But I kept stepping forwards

for the sake of my family,

and my family sustained me

while my rose kept me well.

Enriched by kindness

I am finding my future,

and my steps are guided by love and goodwill.

I have many to thank

for the floods that have dried

and the trees standing

proud on every side.

The wall still stands

and I stand upon it,

the stones and the mortar

too strong to subside.

© Jane Paterson Basil

10 thoughts on “

      1. Hi Jane, yes sometimes it can be easy to become cynical about how many people read all the way through. That is a reflection of our time-starved / frenetic culture though rather than the quality of your writing. I wrote in a similar style on ripples of thought once, consciously creating a ripple effect – and someone implied I needed to get a life and completely missed the point. Their loss!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. But sinking deeply into writing is an essential part of life for many of us!
          And on the subject of the ripple effect, if we don’t bother to think about it, the people around us tend to drown in our thoughtlessness.
          Does that make sense to you? I think I may be a bit too fond of metaphors.

          Liked by 1 person

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