Locked and barred


when that last day arrives
and with eyes locked and barred
no more will I invite you in

everything will halt
dirty dishes will sit in the sink,
the electricity meter will tick
into in the red
friends will listen to my phone as it rings
wondering if I will pick up
the first mysterious words of a poem
will lie hidden in an electronic device
never to re-appear unless bidden
by some interested loved one

it is in keeping
that my children should grieve
but I will feel no guilt

I will have finally been
released from responsibilty
in the freedom of my demise
I will have ceased to exist
I will not be unhappy

all of those incomplete tasks
will have been whisked away from me
and I would wish you to realize
that I had always expected to
be an unfinished project

those who love me will be
enfolded in their misery for a while
in time
I will be just a sweetened memory
a woman who lived and
who followed the road
until intention
was crowned by inevitability

© Jane Paterson Basil


15 thoughts on “Locked and barred

    1. I had a negative day yesterday. My plan was to write a light-hearted ditty about dying, for my children to read at my funeral in hundred years time.. Ha! are you telling me I didn’t hit it off?
      You’re right. Something is eating me from the inside and I don’t know whether it’s physical or psychological. I’ve seen so much death that I’ve come to expect it wherever I go.


  1. It comes across as far stronger than that. You had me worried for a moment.

    PS. Do you want me to remove the poem I posted last night? Somewhere to land.

    PPS. I ment to say, This is a heavy poem.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Don’t. Please don’t. I’m so sorry. I’ve been so wrapped up in myself I haven’t followed anyone else’s work. That poem’s great. We both write heavy poems, and sometimes reading them is painful, but it’s beautiful too. We get to know each other through poetry, and I wouldn’t miss that for the world. Your poetry creates, it doesn’t destroy.


  2. I read your comments up there and my eyebrow was a bit raised, too. But I think when we’re feeling that way — like it would just be ok if we would die and get it over with (how many times have I said to God, it’ll be fine if I don’t wake up in the morning when I was in that same place), it’s likely better to give voice to it than let it stay inside and fester. The poem is very meaningful. I can identify with it without feeling dreary about it all. Just sitting here shaking my head in understanding. It’s ok, Jane. {{{Jane}}}


    1. I have only just realised that it reads like a warning of impending suicide. I’m so sorry. I didn’t know what those words from ajppobrian meant. (“It comes across as far stronger than that. You had me worried for a moment.”)
      I think I’d better get over there and apologise to him for being so obtuse. Maybe, after all, there are things that should not be written. This is not the correct forum for this poem, although I see no reason to exclude it from my collection of addiction poems for the book.


      1. The poem is extremely sad, and should be voiced in any forum. When I read it, I honestly thought you were considering suicide. That is how strong your words came across. Thankfully I was wrong. Keep on living.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I’m truly sorry for giving that impression, and although it was obvious from your comment I only realised it because of Calen’s comment. Stupid of me.
          I want you to know that between you and Calen you’ve done me a massive favour, and you probably don’t even know each other. You’ve helped me to make the decision to take action on something that I should have done weeks ago. More about that when it’s sorted out.


  3. It is beautiful and tragic, Jane.

    ‘that I had always expected to
    be an unfinished project’

    Is a perfect line and sums up so much – a gorgeous self realisation. We wander through life, thinking there’s time to ‘complete’ ourselves, to right our perceived failings, when at the end, we all remain unfinished.
    I’m glad to read from the comments that it’s merely a thought exercise, though. All the best X

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My dad used to make the headstones for Lady Arran’s deceased pets. It was a favour to her, although she did pay him for it. After he died, I went into his workshop and was devastated to see the latest one sitting unfinished on his workbench, and I realised that this is what happens if we are lucky enough to die suddenly. I dealt with it by picking up his chisels and finishing the headstone which he’d only just begun, and his hands guided me, so that when it was finished it was better than either he or I could have done alone. I had never done anything like it, and when I finished it about a week later I felt as if something had been resolved.
      Originally the poem was intended to tell my children, after I die, that things were as they should be, but maybe it went awry.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. What an amazing story – did you really finish that headstone? That’s wonderful. Have you written about that, because it’s such a lovely story, a lovely sentiment – so touching.
        I’m afraid so much was left unresolved when my dad died (we hadn’t spoken for years, then even though we were speaking towards the end, there was a huge distance between us) that I’ve had to come to terms with that too. That’s just how some relationships are and there’s no point in dwelling on it. We weren’t close, but I can’t torture myself over it, as it was more his choice than mine in the beginning at least. Such is life 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I agree. People are as they are, and if you don’t move on you’ll never be well. When I was a child my dad was wonderful to me. It went wrong when I hit adolescence. His hormones got in a tangle. I can’t justify his behaviour towards me, but I forgave him long ago. He didn’t mean to hurt me, and I’m over it.
          I think I’ll do the headstone story, and yes, it’s true.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. You’re certainly a survivor, my love.
            My dad was just too young (18) when he first became a dad. He was adopted, messed up, raised by tough people – they shouldn’t be used as excuses, but reasons. As you say, it does none of us any good to let the past rule our lives. You’ve done amazingly well to move on

            Liked by 1 person

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