Monthly Archives: August 2015

Bent, but not broken

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not this, please, not this
heart slamming against bent bone
I stare at the proof

soon, the lies will come
covering pain with more pain
over and again

his plausable words
attack my brain, clash with truth
giving no escape

I wake with the day
aching, I take up a pen
and I write, I write.

©Jane Paterson Basil

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Summer evening cinematics

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Striped by bright rays from setting sun
orange and gold paint the evening sky.
A giraffe swells from darkening clouds
quickly shape-shifting into a sea monster
with fearsome nostrils which wildly flare.

Unflinching beside the beast
a full-frocked lady on a pony rests
in preparation for metamorphosis
into a historic warrior with braided hair
brandishing a mighty stone axe.
The steed upon which he sits
slowly turns its head to stare in through my window.
The monster sinks, intimidated
into the smoky grey.
Their mission accomplished
man and horse morph into a winged angel
with an expanding beard.

Casually, the angel detaches his wings
dispersing his body into the ether.
The head swells into a Disney cartoon
before thinning and disappearing
into the charcoal cloud.
Behind, reddened sky sinks to grey
as it signals the end of another summer day.

©Jane Paterson Basil

Tribute to Horseradish

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I got a muddy cutting, a little piece of root
to bury in the garden and tamp down with my boot
I watered it and waited for a tiny shoot of green
to tell me that my dahlia would eventually be seen
when the cotyledon broke the soil and quickly turned to leaf
my immediate reaction was one of disbelief
I scratched my head and wondered “well, what do we have here?
I don’t think it’s a dahia. Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear”

horticultural surprises don’t often bother me
and I hoped that this new plant may be my cup of tea
the leaves were growing rapidly and I didn’t recognise
the shape of them, the quantity, the speediness or size
until an allotment running friend who was veggie foody faddish
was summoned for advice and she said it was horseradish
she gave me little info but some useful recipes
for what to do with horseradish in lunches, dinners, teas

in sandwiches and mixed with egg, in tomato meals and more
she taught me everything I know of what horseradish is for
but she forgot to mention its greedy appetite
soon it stole each inch of soil, bite by chomping bite
it ate up all the space where the cosmos should have been
and soon my shining marigolds were nowhere to be seen
but I was living large in a kitchen of delight
cooking meals with horseradish, eating with all my might

now I was feeding friends and family by the score
and every passing cold-caller who knocked upon my door
I’d dug up all the roses, while my culinary cocoon
wrapped me in denial of the slowly ticking doom
and now I’m old and grey with a mono-culture space
that reaches far and wide and has won a deadly race
where once a town rose up with bounteous room for all
and cows and trees surrounded it; before I caused the fall

my horseradish plantation covers this pretty land
the only thing containing it is salty sea and sand
it’s eaten up the country and all who lived within,
and though I feel bereft and I know it is a sin
now I write this tribute because there’s nothing else to say
about my lonely little world and the way I live today
It’s time that I curled up in my world of verdant green
I’ll let my plants devour me and forget I’ve ever been.

My son jokingly suggested I write a tribute to horseradish. Maybe he should have kept his ideas to himself!

©Jane Paterson Basil

You tell me I am beautiful

Dedicated to my wonderful, supportive readers – I hope you know who you are – with an honourable mention to weirdawesome, who inspired this poem.

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like scuffed matchboxes
filled with char-blackened slivers
whose historic flames lit a thousand hidden acts
my tarnished psyche hid in dusty corners
exuding a hallucinatory obsidian gleam
dimly seen through the gaps
between my splitting seams

shimmering and difficult to read
concealing the realities
it hinted at unseemliness
iniquitous dealings
ill-concealed secrets

the roads I walked had seen my every move
the foolishness of my tarnished youth,
the weighted lead so casually assimilated

with shoulders drooped I hung my head in shame
envisioning scorning eyes: the sear of disdain and disbelief

layer by layer I unpeel the tattered shreds of my past
fearfully flattening the folds to reveal each faded crease
every blot of unease, the rips and the holes
made by those wicked souls who abused me
the original pattern, stained and distorted by age
the casual embroidery of my mistakes

I stand raw, nervous, sure I have erred
while you study each flaw in my fabric
you desipher my weave and understand

you tell me I am beautiful
you are beautiful too.

©Jane Paterson Basil

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at the end of the day
I would like to ban the phrase
“at the end of the day” because
at the end of the day, when people say
“at the end of the day”
it’s generally not the end of the day
that they are talking about,
even when the phrase is used
at the end of the day.

at the end of the day I am tired,
and it’s the end of the day now.
Goodnight.
Sleep tight.

©Jane Paterson Basil

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “No, Thank You.”