Monthly Archives: July 2015

Reflections

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my hand tingled in your firm grip
as we gazed at our reflections in the cold lake below,
faces close, winter coats concealing our hearts.

letting me go, you bent at the knees,
carefully selected a round, black stone
and dropped it gently to splosh and sink,
sending ripples across the water,
blurring our faces so they seemed to
separate from themselves and each other.
the light changed, and our images disappeared.
in silence we turned from the scene.
icy hands thrust in our lonely pockets
lonely hearts warmed only by wool
while behind us the ripples expanded
ever outwards.

And that, friends, is my poem for this weeks challenge from Esther

©Jane Paterson Basil

The days when I could fly

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at first the world was square, whitewashed,
fragrant with warm yeast and vanilla
walking must have been hard, and then become easy

when the world was blue and green I learned to run
but sometimes I stumbled and fell on my face
I practiced until the day when, although I stumbled
I could save myself before the ground reached me
and soon, I was fleet, sure footed. I ceased stumbling
now I was skilled and could even sprint over sharp rocks
easily leaping from one to the next
I felt as if I was flying

I grew up and life took the place of living
too busy to skip over the shore-line rocks
I became accustomed to walking in an orderly manner
in my grey and brick red world
and I rarely remembered the feel of the wind in
my hair as my feet slapped lightly on the ground

after a while the thought of falling became fearsome
I ceased running altogether
I was careful not even to stumble,
but lately in my multi-coloured world of
sky, trees, roads and houses
the walls have taken to leaning towards me when
I least expect it. I have begun to stumble again
and like the child I recall, unless I am careful
the ground may rise to meet me

it’s not so bad after all; a temporary glitch
but if the day comes when I am unable to rise again
and I flounder, helpless and vulnerable like a baby
while the world around me changes to pastel shades
nurses hold me and cellular blankets enfold me
maybe that, too, will be okay as long as I can hold a pen
see my family
and re-live the days when I could fly

©Jane Paterson Basil

I may stumble

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so you think YOU can sink ME?
have you not seen my battle scars?
did you not spot the gaps between these
stained and chipped teeth, and spy
the pointed tips of my hidden set?

even as I lay bloodied in war torn fields I always
sharpened them with bark from wizened trees

Yes, I may stumble often, and often fall down.
If you cut me I will do what all mortals do
but when you think you have destroyed me
I will be recuperating, reinforcing my castle

if you come at me with ice
it will tear holes in my soft flesh
but will quickly melt away to nothing
leaving you as unarmed as
you believed me to be me

if you return to cut me with a blade
I will take it, I will sharpen it
and then I will push it deep into your heart

nobody will see the scarlet stain
all they will see is a former tyrant
whose marbles have all rolled away

and I will smile benevolently
on a failed little hitler who
misjudged her intended victim

©Jane Paterson Basil

The crone’s imperial station

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I will embrace my advancing maturity
with shoulders back and head straight
I will cease clinging to the dried
and crisped shell of distant youth

I will exit the nursery, the students digs,
the disco, the music festival
to finally ease into a more fitting place
which will become my home

like a dierama or a riverside willow
I will sweep gracefully, accepting and
assisted by the wind’s embrace
I will erase the imagined shame
of the crone’s imperial station

©Jane Paterson Basil

A quote and a rant.

I’m in the mood for a quote today.

“Evil isn’t the real threat to the world. Stupid is just as destructive as Evil, maybe more so, and it’s a hell of a lot more common. What we really need is a crusade against Stupid. That might actually make a difference.”

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We see stupidity, and the results of it, everywhere we look, every day; in the newspapers, the shops. the courtrooms, the streets and on TV. Even when roaming the countryside it is evident. Life-giving, deciduous woodlands have been obliterated, hedges which supported hosts of advantageous living creatures have been razed to the ground, to increase the size of mono culture systems. We spray herbicides, further damaging the ecological balance and introducing toxins into our food chain.

We take a pill to fix our ill rather than keeping the oils wheeled form the start, and we don’t even realise that all we are doing is playing into the hands of the drugs companies and the processed food producers, or how connected they all are to each other. We imbibe alcohol to ensure a better evening in the company of friends and even family, because we think that none of us are fun enough without it. We take street drugs for the pleasure of the moment and let them possess us, while they eat our bodies and our minds.

We feel we are missing something, and every time we see an advertising billboard that promises a better life for a small cost we fall into the trap and pay the money, only to be disappointed when the new car or the kitchen appliance or new shoes don’t fill the hole after all. But we continue to engage in retail therapy as if it is virtue, quickly discarding each ill-advised purchase, and storing the rest. We buy lottery tickets purely to have a big win, telling ourselves that if we do we’ll give most of it to charity. Week after week, lucky winners are crushed beneath the unexpected weight of the dollar, while needy charities gain from each newly addicted gambling victim.

We churn filth into the air from huge industrial chimneys. We build nuclear power stations that slowly poison the surrounding area. We convert our planet to plastic: Clingfilm to use once and then discard, plastic toys from vending machines and MacDon’t-go-there’s to be glanced at before lying forgotten behind the sofa. Packaging, packaging, packaging.

We fly flags and say this-country-is-ours-you-can’t-have-it-‘cos-we-haven’t-got-enough-to-share, instead of caring for the whole world and making it a better place to live in. We hate and despise instead of looking within ourselves and nurturing hidden compassion. We want what our neighbour has and when we have it we want more. We want it all, and are prepared to pay for it with our souls, crushing rather than feeding. We think that the starving child in Africa doesn’t matter, because his agony is so distant and our need for a bigger TV is right here in our very hearts.

When our children go to music festivals they go in a group and close themselves away from opportunities to find new colours and shapes. We go to exotic countries to soak up the culture, but we wash it away as soon as we get home, retaining nothing more than the memory of how cheap the fake designer watches are.

Our governments dictate which land is on God’s side, and produces weapons and men to protect it. When the government changes its mind, the arms deals are already set in stone, and our men are killed by our own weapons, but it’s ok. It’s only business, and business creates jobs.

We hate and we fear and we despise. And we kill, we kill, we kill, while the wheels turn and grind their way into oblivion.

How strange that we can be clever enough to destroy this beauty, yet too stupid to see it happening.

©Jane Paterson Basil

I push them away

I push them away
those ogres that you bring
sharp with a murky middle
leaving stings that
grow into stones at
the back of my neck

I push them away
too late to prevent the
paralysing poisoned dart
from hitting its mark

I push them away
but you bring back-up
to prick me with
their dirty spikes

with my tired hands
I push them away
each little monster of
misery is weak but
they are an endless army
and they back up
they back up until
they are nose to
nose with me
I avert my face
make myself tiny
but still they back up
filling every gap
surrounding me until
there is no space for me
crushing me
stealing me
leaving only the pain
and the sound of
the doorbell
ringing
ringing
ringing

©Jane Paterson Basil

I had to re-blog this post from someone who has been bravely fighting and conquering her demons recently, and she offers really good advice for those who are stuck in a particular kind of bad place and need to move forward.
Thank you, Weird Awesome. Respect!

Cheese

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those bamboo legged, brightly dyed packages of fashion
who stalk trendy shops enticingly branded by a
greedy hand wielding sly psychological weapons for mass sales,
slavishly following some simpering style Guru
for fear that left to their own devices, they may
commit an accessorial faux pas and
find themselves sartorially in the middle of last week;

those lost little retail addicts who think that if they wear
clothes not yet cold from the needle which stitched them,
it will give them something which, while not essential
will at least help,
will at least fill a hole;
may do better to pick up a block of cheese.
any decent cheese will do:
dolcelatte, camembert, good strong cheddar, epoisse
or even that strange Norwegian cheese named gjetost
which is sweet, and feels like fudge against the teeth.
take a knife.
cut a big chunk.
eat and enjoy the texture, the savour, the flavour, the taste,

enjoy
the
mmm…

©Jane Paterson Basil