Monthly Archives: July 2015



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




Pete rang me
to tell me that he has
been handed an eviction notice
because of you. Although your shouting is
the reason he must leave he didn’t seem angry with you.
He even tried asking the housing people
to find a safe place for
you to live.
I offered sincere
commiseration and he
said things would work out fine,
I told him of your latest phone call;
of how you said that Wills was dead and
the police have seen the connection between
all of the twelve names on your list of deceased, and
had finally believed that your tale of conspiracy was true,
so they were taking you away to a place of safety
where you wouldn’t be found, because you
were the intended victim behind
all of the murders.
You were in danger yourself,
and were ringing to say goodbye
Pete snorted a laugh and said Wills was alive,
he saw him this morning, walking through town,
but he’d ring him right now to make sure he’s all right.
A few minutes later he rang me back to
confirm that Wills was fine, but
he’d been evicted because
of your shouting,
adding another name
to the list, not of the dead,
but of the friends who erred by
giving you somewhere to eat and sleep.
He’s been moved to high level assisted housing
and is glad to be safely out of your reach.
You’ve already blown it in my house.
Shouting, shouting, shouting.
You need to stop shouting,
or you’ll be shouting
on the streets.

©Jane Paterson Basil

The days when I could fly


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


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


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